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Is Love Heading Back West?

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Kevin Love's role in Cleveland...is not really clear.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

So the the NBA Finals have not really been that competitive... Aside from Game 3, the Warriors have taken every punch the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered and directed much more back at the Eastern Conference champs. It's disappointing given how amazing the Western Conference Finals were between the Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  If things hold course, the Golden State Warriors will win their second consecutive title and LeBron James will once again fall short.

In light of this, some people, including SB Nation's own Tom Ziller here, have suggested that the Cavaliers trade Kevin Love away (even if the Cavs win the title)

"As such, paying through the nose for a power forward who can't regularly play center or small forward -- that'd be Love --  doesn't make much sense. Even if James only plays heavy minutes at power forward in the playoffs against certain teams, there's probably a much better way to use the resources going to pay Love.

The Clippers

Back in the day there were some rumblings about who the better player was: Kevin Love or Blake Griffin. Their tool sets were different, but both players were producing elite statistics on a nightly basis. Between the 2010-2011 season and the 2013-2014 season (Kevin Love's last in Minnesota), these two players put up respective numbers of, per game:

Kevin Love: 23.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists

Blake Griffin: 21.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists

Since then Blake Griffin has continued to evolve and improve his game. His free throw shooting has improved and his assists have increased. Kevin Love however has become third fiddle on the Cavaliers. But what if (at least for the sake of conversation) the Clippers were to conduct a trade around Blake Griffin for Kevin Love? Unlike the past where people may have preferred one player over the other, it's pretty clear that Griffin is more valuable than Love now. Love may be able to return to an All-Star level of production, but he's definitely not there right now.

Granted, outside of trading Griffin for Kevin Durant, no one wants to think about trading Griffin. But what if the Clippers could request, and get, more than just Love for Griffin? How about some first round picks and/or swap of bench players that improve the Clippers team? If the Clippers want Blake to become a PF that can shoot jumpers (and 3's) consistently, Love is already one that does that pretty well. Ultimately, if the Clippers were going to explore Blake for Durant scenarios, there's no reason to ignore Blake for Love scenarios too.

The West

The likely scenario of a Love trade is that a bunch of other teams offer a variety of picks and pieces to the Cavaliers for Love's services. Western teams like the Trail Blazers, Rockets, and the Lakers would all love to add an All-Star caliber player. If any of them do, it could mean another serious contender in the Western Conference. (Okay, probably not the Lakers, but who knows after they add another top lottery pick.) With the Clippers' title clock ticking, it would be concerning to see other teams improving drastically and making a possible title run significantly harder.