As Cavs set high price on Love, hard not to ponder Wiggins in wine

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love could be headed elsewhere in a trade before Thursday's deadline. Or not.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics would love to put Kevin Love in green and white before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. There’s just one problem: They don’t have the key asset that Love’s current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, covets.

The Celtics are stocked with the draft picks and role players, and according to ESPN.com, that’s not the type of package the Cavs expect in return if they decide to deal Love. According to the report, general manager David Griffin wants a star coming back.

Acquiring one in a trade for Love now is easier said than done, so Cleveland is also working on upgrading its bench, according to the ESPN.com report, by making guard Iman Shumpert and center Timofey Mozgov available. The Cavs traded for both players during last season, but neither has compiled a productive season.

The Cavs would love to bring Atlanta Hawks’ 3-point ace Kyle Korver to Cleveland. Other options, according to ESPN.com, include Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore and center Kosta Koufos.

As for dealing Love, that might have to wait until the summer, if at all. The Cavs can see how the postseason goes and then decide if they want to continue on with the forward or move on from him. Under former coach David Blatt, Love never felt like a fit in the offense. However, Blatt’s replacement, Tyronn Lue has made a point to get Love more touches at the elbow, his favored spot on the floor.

That experiment, however, is on hold after Love hurt his shoulder, the same one he injured in the first round of last season’s playoffs and kept him out the remainder of the postseason (he’s not expected to be out long this time.) You might recall that James and the Cavs mowed down the Eastern Conference to get to the Finals without Love in the second round and the East finals.

Cleveland might never be in this awkward position of deciding whether to trade Love, who is due north of $67 million through 2018-19 with a $25.5 million player option the following season, if they had never acquired him in the first place. Cleveland drafted Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. But when LeBron James decided to leave Miami as a free agent and return to Cleveland, he made it clear that he is in win-now mode and he wanted the veteran Love over the rookie Wiggins. 

In retrospect, the long and lanky, 6-foot-8 shooting guard might have been a solid, perhaps even dynamic two-way answer at that position for Cleveland — maybe even a raw Dwyane Wade type of player — something they are not getting from Shumpert. 

But that deal is done and there’s no undoing it. At present, the Cavs must decide how imperative it is to move on without Love, and how high a price will they really demand.