The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling and are clearly not playoff contenders by any stretch of the imagination, so it seems only natural that their veteran players will be available between now and the February trade deadline.
It looks like that will be the case.
According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY, both Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson could be traded “if the deal is right.” Zilgitt notes that the Cavaliers are attempting to recoup assets that they lost during the LeBron James-era title chases from 2014-15 through 2017-18.
The problem for Cleveland is that both players will be a bit complicated to move.
Love is in the first season of a four-year, $120 million contract extension the Cavs handed him during the summer of 2018 (the extension kicked in this season) and is making $28.9 million this year.
Not only does Love’s 2019-20 paycheck make him a difficult salary to match, but he is on tap to make over $31 million in each of the next two seasons and will earn another $28.9 million in 2022-23.
Love’s deal does not contain any opt outs, so if anyone trades for him, they will be stuck paying his salary for the next four years.
Thompson will be quite a bit easier to trade, as he is in the final year of his deal, but he is making a hefty $18.5 million this season, which could make things tricky in terms of matching salaries.
That being said, both players can absolutely play roles on title contenders, so there will almost certainly be rival clubs inquiring about the veterans.