May 27, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cavaliers begin pursuit of Love


Brian Dulik

The Gazette

CLEVELAND — With superstar LeBron James now in the fold, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin moved on to his next target Friday.

Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love, who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season, is seen by Cleveland as the final piece to its championship puzzle.

The Cavaliers have offered power forward Tristan Thompson, shooting guard Dion Waiters, and a first-round draft pick to Minnesota in exchange for the three-time All-Star, according to multiple reports.

Love, who will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-2015 season, told Timberwolves president Flip Saunders several months ago that he will not re-sign under any circumstances.

Griffin has thus far insisted that rookie swingman Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft — will not be available. However, Cleveland has made it clear that 2013 top overall pick Anthony Bennett is in play.

GoldenState also covets UCLA product Love, but has declined Minnesota’s request of shooting guard Klay Thompson as part of a multi-player package.

While Northeast Ohio native Saunders mulls his next move, James is taking an active role in recruiting two veteran sharpshooters to the Cavaliers.

Heat shooting guard Ray Allen and Grizzlies small forward Mike Miller are both considering re-teaming with him in Cleveland. Allen is reportedly open to a veteran’s minimum contract, while Miller is seeking at least $5 million per season.

The Cavaliers’ two biggest needs are a scoring post and a 3-point shooting swingman after the free agency defections of center Spencer Hawes and shooting guard C.J. Miles, respectively.

Griffin lopped off an additional $3.25 million from the team’s salary commitments by sending small forward Alonzo Gee to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a heavily-protected 2016 second-round pick.

Exactly like the second-rounder that Cleveland acquired from Boston one day earlier, Cleveland will only receive the selection if New Orleans finishes with one of the top five records in the NBA.

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