5 potential trade destinations for Kevin Love

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Kevin Love
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5. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat are off to a roaring start, boasting a 16-6 record that’s good for third in the East. Even more impressive, they’ve done it without Jimmy Butler having to post otherworldly numbers. However, no one’s going to mistake them for a title contender anytime soon, which is where a manageable upgrade like Kevin Love might pay dividends.

Erik Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the league, and his system — and Miami’s development system — routinely gets the best out of its players. “Heat Culture” is a legitimate thing, and Love would provide some welcome floor-spacing for Miami’s plethora of drivers and slashers to operate.

Goran Dragic has been one of the NBA’s leading sixth men so far, but if trading his expiring deal and either Dion Waiters (who’s given the Heat quite a headache lately) or Kelly Olynyk (a useful but nonessential big) gets the job done, Pat Riley should at least put feelers out.

However, there are some caveats. Trading for Love would clog up Miami’s cap space for the foreseeable future, and everyone knows South Beach plus Riley usually equals compelling free agency pitches — especially with someone like Butler already on board. That wouldn’t matter as much this summer, when the talent pool is bone-dry, but it could come back to haunt the Heat down the road when franchise-altering superstars start hitting the market again.

There’s also a problem on Cleveland’s end: Shedding Dragic’s $19.2 million contract this summer would be nice, and Olynyk and Waiters only have one more year on their deals after that, but is cap relief enough compensation for a guy they value so much like Love? When it comes to draft picks, the Heat are the NBA’s Little Drummer Boy: Until 2025, they have no picks to bring (pa rum pum pum pum). That could be a nonstarter for the Cavs.