The Utah Jazz are in a precarious position heading into the upcoming campaign and look well behind numerous Western Conference rivals who have strengthened this offseason. Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has brought in some reinforcements, but they don’t wow the masses. They definitely don't make up for the departure of Gordon Hayward, leaving Utah in need of a home-run trade to keep them relevant.
Kevin Love has been in trade rumors for what has seemed like an eternity. The power forward has arguably been the scapegoat for anything that has gone wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers since he was traded for Andrew Wiggins in 2014. It's time for a change. But the question is: will Love pull a Kyrie Irving and request a trade?
How to execute the trade
Love is set to make $72.2 million over the next three seasons. For the Jazz to make a deal happen, a combination of players and picks will certainly be on Cleveland's radar if a trade was to come to fruition. Players that Utah could clear salary wise could be Alec Burks and Derrick Favors, who are set to make $10.8 million and $12 million, respectively; they are the two chips Utah could move in order to secure Love. Lindsey could also package a young player like a Tony Bradley, who was the 28th pick in last year's draft, while a future first rounder could see a deal get over the line.
What Love means to the set-up
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist would give Utah the much-needed floor spacing that the team currently doesn’t possess on the roster. Rudy Gobert is the centerpiece of the franchise, yet without Hayward the Jazz are one-dimensional on the offensive end. Replacing Hayward’s 21.9 points per game will be extremely difficult for the Jazz and it's fair to say the likes of Rodney Hood and Ricky Rubio will not match that production. Love could play a big part in changing that.
Having averaged a double-double last season with 19 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, Love would provide that extra offense for Utah. The power forward is also a deep-ball threat and shot 37.3% from downtown last season. That much-valued production from deep would be more than welcome in Salt Lake City.
Would Utah feel the Love in the West?
The West is getting stronger and Utah need to act fast.
Minnesota added Jimmy Butler to a roster that already includes Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The Timberwolves also managed the free agent signings of Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague. Oklahoma City traded for Paul George whilst bringing in other nice pieces to accompany Russell Westbrook. Then you have Houston, who traded for Chris Paul to form one of the best backcourt in the league. Even the Los Angeles Clippers still look good with Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley looking as if they will keep Doc Rivers' side inside the playoffs picture. Denver also have to be mentioned, given they brought in Paul Millsap.
It's clear that Utah, having lost their best player in Hayward, need to act fast in order to catch up. A big-name signing is the only thing that will thrust them back into the playoff picture. Love ticks all the boxes and would be a huge pickup. The Jazz need to find a way to make the four-time All-Star join their ranks.
Will the Jazz make the trade to stay relevant? Let us know in the comments section!!!
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