Kevin Love Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Love, pictured during Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 23, 2017 in Cleveland, has been involved in trade rumors for much of his time with the Cavs. Getty Images

The 2017 NBA Finals are just two games old, and the speculation surrounding Kevin Love’s future with the team has already started. With the Cleveland Cavaliers falling behind 2-0 in the series against the Golden State Warriors, much of the basketball world has an eye on next season, presuming the defending champs have no chance to make a comeback.

For many, the answer for the Cavs might be in making a trade that sends Love elsewhere. The power forward struggled at times in Cleveland’s two losses at Oracle Arena, and he has been at the center of trade rumors for much of the time since he signed a five-year contract with the Cavs in the summer of 2015.

First, it was the three-team deal that was reportedly discussed between the Cavs, Celtics and New York Knicks before the 2016 trade deadline. When Cleveland fell behind 2-0 in last year’s finals, The Vertical’s Chris Mannix reported that Love could be on his way to another team that offseason. Even after Cleveland won the title and Love made the 2017 Eastern Conference All-Star Team, there was a report that LeBron James wanted the team to trade Love.

“It’s trash,” James said of the trade rumors in February. “And the guy who wrote it is trash, too, for writing that. … It’s always about outside noise, and that’s just outside noise for us. We’ve got to focus on what needs to be done in order for us to continue to compete for a championship. We’ve got who we got. Our GM (David Griffin) will do a great job of figuring out if we need something else. But right now, we’re in a good place.”

But that hasn’t stopped the notion that Cleveland might be better off making a trade.

Love put up good offensive numbers in Game 2, scoring 27 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but the holes in his game have been exposed by the Warriors. His struggles defensively have led to wide open shots by Golden State, contributing to the Warriors’ 132-point performance Sunday night. Love grabbed 21 rebounds in Game 1, but he missed nine of his 13 shot attempts, and his defense was a detriment in that contest, as well.

If the Cavs did want to trade Love, they wouldn’t have a shortage of suitors. The three years and $72.35 million left on his deal might be considered a bargain when looking at the contracts players will sign over the next few years because of the rising salary cap. As the third scoring option on the team behind James and Kyrie Irving, Love averaged 19 points on 14.5 shots per game in the regular season, grabbing 11.1 rebounds per contest.

While it’s possible that the Cavs could explore a trade involving Love this summer, the idea of making such a major move is premature. Cleveland struggled similarly in the first two games of the finals last year, and they went on to win the championship in seven games.

Even if Golden State sweeps Cleveland, Love will not have been the reason. The Warriors have yet to lose in the playoffs, and they might just be too good to be challenged by anyone. Adding Kevin Durant to the best regular season team of all time has made Golden State borderline unstoppable on offense, and trading Love won’t change that.

The Cavs steamrolled through the rest of the East, going 12-1 on their way to the finals. One big performance by Love in Game 3, and he can help put Cleveland right back in the series and silence many of his critics.