Houston Rockets buy-low candidate #5: Kevin Love
It seems like ages ago but Kevin Love was an integral part of a Cavaliers team that made it to the NBA Finals four consecutive seasons and won one championship. While Love wasn’t the catalyst for the Cavaliers’ sustained success, he accepted a lesser role than what he had grown accustomed to as an All-NBA player with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the betterment of the team.
Love went from being one of the most dominant low-post scorers in the league to being one of its best stretch-fours. For his sacrifice, he won at the highest level and the Cavaliers rewarded him with a four-year $120 million extension in the summer of 2018.
From the moment Love signed his extension everything around him and the Cavaliers has gone south. The team lost LeBron James and Love has experienced a litany of injuries. His $31.3 million salary has made him un-acquirable for most teams and he and the Cavaliers have been left with little hope for a move.
The Rockets should pounce on a player that could still offer them real value and is a natural fit next to Christian Wood in the frontcourt. Both Love and Wood have the ability to space the floor and score inside which could give the Rockets’ offense an added inside-out dimension without sacrificing modern floor spacing principles.
Imagine Wood spacing the court while Love posts up and vice-versa. Love’s stock has taken a hit due to his age and injury history but getting him now could be a long-term steal for the Rockets.
Unlike most contracts, Love’s annual average salary goes down each season, which will only increase his trade value. If the Rockets can bring Love in and rehabilitate his value on the court his contract will only get easier to move.
The Rockets should buy-low on Kevin Love and put their future available cap space to good use. They won’t have to give up much, if anything, to land him and he could be their ticket to more draft picks or be a part of a resurgent squad in 2021 and beyond.