A contingent of Utah Jazz fans have long salivated over Kevin Love, but he won’t be an option for the team any time soon.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence — such is seemingly the credo for a gaggle of fans from around the NBA and the Utah Jazz are no different.
Despite the fact that Derrick Favors has provided a unique skill set as a rim finisher and impact player defensively for several years, a vocal contingent of Jazz fans have openly pined for Kevin Love to take his spot. Alas, the Love-to-Utah crowd was dealt a crippling blow on Tuesday.
Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially agreed to a four-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not announced, but it’s believed that the extension will be for four years and $120 million.
As a result, his overall deal with the Cavs now tops out at five years and $145 million. Woof.
His long-term deal and near-$30 million per yer price tag essentially eliminate him as a candidate to join the Jazz. There had been hope among some that Utah would make a trade for his services or acquire him next summer after an opt-out in Cleveland.
And despite Love’s warts, there was a method to the madness there.
With Jazz star Rudy Gobert doing his damage in the paint, Love’s perimeter scoring and outside shooting would make for a nifty complement offensively. He’s a career 18-11 guy who has also knocked down 37 percent of his 3-point shots. He’s also one of the game’s better rebounders.
Undoubtedly, Love is the kind of player that could unlock the potential of Quin Snyder’s offense. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered the impact he could on the Jazz myself.
Having said that, the game is played on both ends of the court and Love has issues defensively. He’s almost Ryan Anderson-like in his inability to switch the screen or even stay in front of his own man with consistency. During the 2018 playoffs, the Cavs surrendered 109 points per 100 possessions and were a net negative when he was on the floor.
Frankly, the Cavs’ decision to extend him at such a high price is a little surprising. Although, in a wide-open Eastern Conference, keeping him in the fold could also keep them in play for a lower-tier playoff spot. If you’re into that sort of thing.
In any event, the Love pipe dream has received its rude awakening. But Jazz fans shouldn’t waste any time mourning the loss.
Despite his throwback-style game, Favors remains the more complete player. Also — there will be better, more affordable potential upgrades on the market in 2019. Specifically, LA Clippers big man Tobias Harris, who offers more versatility on both sides of the ball.
Love got paid and that’s great for him, but it was never a home-run play for the Jazz. And a home-run move would be the only thing worthy of such an investment.