Despite establishing an impressive performance in the 2019-20 NBA season, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are still not considered as one of the top favorites to represent the Western Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals. In order to have a better chance of beating powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers in a best-of-seven series, most people believe that the Nuggets still need to make major upgrades on their roster before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, one of the most tempting trade targets for the Nuggets is Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Kevin Love just can’t seem to keep himself out of the headlines. Playing for another lottery-bound squad isn’t the best fit for the 31-year-old former champ, and it makes sense for both parties to transfer him to a contender while Cleveland Cavaliers stockpile assets in return. The Denver Nuggets make the perfect partner on paper.”
As Ellis noted, the Nuggets could use Paul Millsap, who is considered as a “perfect salary matcher,” as the main trade chip to acquire Love from the Cavaliers. A straight swap between the Nuggets and the Cavaliers involving Millsap and Love would work under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. However, in the potential deal involving the face of the franchise, Cleveland will likely demand the inclusion of assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.
Sacrificing a young player or a future first-round pick for Love would definitely be worth it for the Nuggets, especially if they believe that the All-Star power forward could put them on the same level as the Lakers and the Clippers. Despite his defensive issues, Ellis believes that Love would form a formidable frontcourt duo with Nikola Jokic and would give them someone who could step up when their main man needs to rest.
“Love is still an effective player,” Ellis wrote. “At 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, he provides a steadying presence in the post along with being a reliable spacer. Another playmaking big alongside Nikola Jokic could unlock the half-court offense and help the unit when he sits.”
However, despite mentioning the advantages adding the All-Star power forward to their roster, Ellis also revealed some risks of trading for Love. Aside from his lucrative contract that runs until the 2022-23 NBA season, Love has already dealt with numerous injuries in the past. If the Nuggets really want to upgrade their current roster, Ellis suggests that they could also target players like Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Jae Crowder of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Robert Covington of the Minnesota Timberwolves before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.