NBA Halloween: Playing trick-or-treat with each team’s early season trend

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers

Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love will stay in Cleveland all season during resurgent years: Trick

Kevin Love reviving his trade value was expected heading into 2019-20, but Tristan Thompson? That came straight out of left field. Yet four games into the new campaign, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 2-2, with Thompson serving as their leading scorer (20.3 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (11.8 boards per game).

By all accounts, he’s been a tremendous leader both on and off the court for this young team, while Love (16.0 points, 16.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game on .513/.368/.850 shooting splits) has been no slouch himself. At this rate, it feels like Love and Thompson — the two most movable vets on the roster — might last through the whole season on a surprisingly competitive John Beilein squad.

Unfortunately, reality will kick in at some point. The Cavs’ two wins have come against the Bulls and Indiana Pacers, who have a combined 2-7 record. One coaching change and a healthy Love won’t suddenly turn the worst defense in NBA history into a middle-of-the-pack unit, and as the losses pile up against more severe competition, the front office will be forced to view Thompson’s resurgence as a tradable asset, especially on his expiring contract. Love’s remaining three years will start to loom overhead too, especially if he stays healthy enough to restore his league-wide value and it becomes clear he’s wasting away with a rebuilding franchise.