We usually make the San Antonio Spurs younger with these hypothetical trades, but this win-now deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers changes that outlook.
Quite frankly, there’s no telling what’s going on with the Cleveland Cavaliers as of late. They drafted point guards in back-to-back lottery appearances, crafting a starting backcourt with two ball-handlers who aren’t very good at passing. They traded for Andre Drummond at the trade deadline, confusing their direction for the future and obstructing Kevin Love from being the rebounding machine that he established himself as early in his career. Now, it’s time for the San Antonio Spurs to pounce on their lack of competency.
All signs indicate that this Spurs team is going to trend young and we’ve reflected that in most of these trades, but what if that’s not the case? They could easily send off their young assets to establish a win-now core around DeRozan and Aldridge. It probably wouldn’t be wise, but it’s certainly a possible outcome.
Trading with the Cavs opens a window of possibility for San Antonio to not only keep their young core in place but cater to their current roster. By moving around a few mediocre pieces, the Spurs could create a Big Three to compete in the immediate future without leveraging any of their young players. Plus, the new addition would make a fantastic veteran presence for a few seasons.
The San Antonio Spurs bring in Kevin Love for Rudy Gay, Patty Mills and their 2020 second-round pick.
I’m basing this deal on the one that Cleveland made in the middle of the season to acquire Drummond. Detroit took back two expiring contracts and a 2023 second-round pick, which was pretty much chump change for.a borderline All-Star. The problem is that Detroit just wanted to get rid of Drummond so they could focus on their rebuild, which the Spurs can help Cleveland do now.
Sending Rudy Gay and Patty Mills to Cleveland helps the Cavs become a better overall team with depth on the bench to supplement the emergence of their two young guards. They’re not commanding presences, but as Spurs fans have come to know, these two can easily make an impact and win you a game or two without demanding the ball. They can lean into whatever their mindset was with Drummond with two veterans on expiring contracts.
Meanwhile, the Spurs form a solid, veteran Big Three with Love, DeRozan and Aldridge. While they may seem like an old-school duo, both of those bigs can stretch the floor for the young guys to slash to the paint and score the old-fashioned way. Love’s contract stinks out loud for a 31-year-old in the latter stages of his career, but he’s still an extremely helpful player.
This season, Love posted the second-best effective field goal percentage of his career at 55 percent. He played a complementary role while remaining one of the best rebounders in the sport and an underrated passer from the post and when swinging around the perimeter. Love has proven that he’s a championship-caliber player and when playing off of dynamic guards and wings like DeRozan, Murray, White and Walker, he can hail jumpers from the perimeter.
Yes, his contract impedes on the Spurs’ wide-open 2021 cap sheet, but it’s also going to be very hard for them to draw a player as good as Love is. He’s already got a relationship with DeRozan as the two biggest advocates for mental health in pro sports. Love has the personality and basketball IQ to fit in wonderfully with the Spurs’ system which I wholeheartedly believe could elongate his career.
Kevin Love specifically thanked DeMar DeRozan for inspiring him to speak out about mental health before winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/3Agk45L02K
— ♑Capricorn♑ (@kendell_m) June 23, 2020
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Even if things don’t work out immediately, the Spurs still have a ton of money coming off the books in 2021 and don’t have to give up their 2020 first-round draft pick to bring a potential All-Star in. Love can play with any of the Spurs’ frontcourt players, meaning the team can re-sign Jakob Poeltl with the expectation that he’s their starting center of the future.
With time and maturity, Love has become a more polished version of himself. He’s committing fewer fouls than ever before and has become the quintessential modern big. He’s never been a star-defender, but he can keep up with opponents and has high IQ that will bode well for the team. Love has always been more agile than most players at his position, which means he can keep up with quicker players at the four-spot and beyond.
It’s hard to look at this team and say they should buy-in on winning now, but Love is the kind of player who makes sense for the Spurs’ culture and current roster construction.
You can find other articles in this series by clicking on the team name below:
Western Conference: LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies. Eastern Conference: Indiana Pacers.