With Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green preparing for the Tokyo Olympics alongside other NBA stars on Team USA, we get to see how Green can mesh with some of the league’s top talent.
And some of those players — at least one, anyway — could become available when NBA free agency begins. Cavaliers PF Kevin Love might fit that bill. Cleveland is building around its young core of guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and also has the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. Love, 33, has a large contract, and his level of play has slipped from its All-Star-level pinnacle.
It’s possible the Cavaliers could buy out the last two years and $60 million of Love’s current deal, allowing him to pursue other opportunities. Could the Warriors entice him to sign for the veteran minimum?
It’s a remote possibility. And Love’s comments from Team USA practice added fuel to any such fire.
“Obviously, with Draymond, it’s a love-hate relationship, but we’ve become actually pretty close friends over the past few years,” Love said. “I love how he competes, his mind for the game, his intangibles, how he leads the break. He passes, he plays defense, and it seems like he’s always in the right spot.
“He’s first-team All-Defense and has been the Defensive Player of the Year for a reason, so I think we can elevate each other’s game.”–Kevin LoveSan Francisco Chronicle
The love-hate relationship developed over four consecutive seasons of facing each other in the NBA Finals, with the Warriors taking three titles to the Cavaliers’ one. And to be clear, Love was speaking about his fit with Green on the Olympic team, not the Warriors. That could be considered tampering by the league.
But the comment allows us to imagine Love with Golden State, and even with his ability on the court at an all-time low, he’d be worth pursuing for the Warriors. He’s the prototypical “stretch four.” He can rebound with the best players in the world and he can shoot effectively from the 3-point line. If he’s made available, general manager Bob Myers should seriously consider bringing him to the Bay Area.
Love is precisely the type of player the salary-cap stretched Warriors need. And how crazy would it be to see him in a Golden State uniform, after facing him in the finals for all those years? First, however, we can look at how he vibes with Green — and coach Steve Kerr as well — on Team USA, ideally as they win a gold medal as teammates.
(Photo courtesy Keith Allison)