Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and other high-impact players could have been dealt before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, but they weren’t. Instead, this week’s most playoff-impacting trade was likely Cleveland acquiring Channing Frye in a three-team deal.
That gives the East-leading Cavs a ton of front-court depth, including Frye, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, Kevin Love and, yes, LeBron James, who sometimes plays power forward.
That’s a lot of big men.
So, how does Frye’s acquisition affect Love?
“I think that Kevin Love is still in his trial period with the Cavs,” CBS Sports NBA analyst Raja Bell said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I don’t think that they’ve come to a conclusion as to whether or not he fits 100 percent with what they do. They would like him to. They pulled the trigger on the deal for (Andrew) Wiggins because they thought he was a piece that could fit with LeBron and (Kyrie Irving), but I think in their minds the jury is still out. So I think what they’re doing now is they’re bolstering that front line with pieces that can work with LeBron, so that if Kevin Love doesn’t and the opportunity presents itself and the haul is enough, they could part ways.”
Love is averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 51 games this season. Unfortunately, the Cavs could use a little more out of him. They also need him to, you know, actually play defense.
If not, Love, 27, could be dealt this offseason.
“They’ve put the pieces in place now where if they do something this summer, they don’t lose the ability to have that stretch 4 or 5 because they’ve got Channing now,” Bell said. “So yeah, they’re committed to making it work this year – and quite frankly, I think it will. I think they have to play a certain way to beat Golden State, but if they’re committed to it and they execute a game plan and don’t stray from it, I think they can beat them.”
Bell, 39, worked in the Cavs’ front office each of the last two seasons. He outlined his game plan for beating Golden State.
“They have to play LeBron at the 4, and they have to make a concerted effort to keep hands on Steph Curry,” Bell said. “You have to cut him and Klay (Thompson) out of the offense as much as possible. Last year we tried to do that and Andre Iguodala beat us. That was the game plan – to give him the opportunity to beat us, and if he did, so be it. I don’t know that he duplicates that again. I don’t know that Draymond (Green) does. So (Curry and Thompson), you have to cut them off from their offense. Offensively, you have to come down and be disciplined. If there’s a break to be had, you take it. If there’s not a break, you cannot quick-shoot against Golden State. You have to run offense. You have to post up. They want to bait you (into playing fast). We all grew up playing a fast pace at the park, so it’s easier to bait someone into playing quick. You have to be disciplined enough to not play quick against them when it’s not opportunistic for you.”