Kevin Love – Phoenix Suns fit but unlikely trade target

Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports /

Veteran big man Kevin Love enjoyed a career renaissance with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, finishing second behind the Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro in Sixth Man of the Year voting. After being previously considered untradeable due to an exorbitant contract, the 33-year-old could now present as a suitable option for the Phoenix Suns and other rival teams.

While Kevin Love might be a perfect fit for the Phoenix Suns, it’s unlikely the franchise targets him at least in the short-term.

The idea of Love was brought to us by a fan on Twitter, with the Suns reportedly after another forward since Kevin Durant’s decision to return to the Brooklyn Nets.

The issue here is that Love is no longer a power-forward, at least by last season’s measures. Part of his success emanated from taking responsibility as a small-ball center for larger periods – 67% to be exact according to Basketball Reference.

To play with another big in a 5-man unit, the other needs to be capable of defending on the perimeter. Love could theoretically play minutes alongside Deandre Ayton, but spending time with any other Suns big could prove problematic.

Aside from that, Love would fit in perfectly to the Suns sixth man role. This would also allow Cameron Johnson to take a place in the starting lineup without his loss from the bench being a major impact.

Love is the perfect stretch big in the modern league, shooting 38.8% on over five catch-and-shoot three-point attempts last season. He’s always been a good rebounder, a facet that’s maintained despite no longer being the dominant inside force he once was offensively.

His contract still makes a potential trade difficult, particularly given Phoenix would need to give up genuine rotational pieces. The above deal includes the Suns only backup point-guard in Cameron Payne, although he could be swapped for Torrey Craig in a potential deal.

There’s also no reason as to why Cleveland would be shopping Love right now – he was a huge component of their success last season and they’ll be looking to finalise a playoff berth in 2022-23.

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Perhaps this deal could materialise if the Cavaliers begin to falter early in the season – they may shop Love around if they’re not in the playoff mix come the trade deadline. That now seems incredibly unlikely given their bold move to acquire All-Star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.