Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sports

Love trade talk persists

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Kevin Love's back spasms have vanished. Those trade rumors won't go away.

Cleveland's All-Star forward expects to play tonight in New York after missing the past two games with a lower-back issue that he says is now "under control." The 28-year-old practiced Friday and said afterward he's confident he won't miss any more time.

But while Love's back trouble has eased, the speculation about his future persists.

For weeks, Love has been mentioned in trade speculation involving the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. Although the teams have not publicly acknowledged any talks and a Love-for-Anthony swap straight up is highly unlikely, it remains a hot topic around the league as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches.

General manager David Griffin would like to add some pieces to the roster, and Love could bring multiple players in a trade. But his contract (an average salary of $22.6 million over the next four seasons) limits potential partners and the Cavs would need to replace his 19.9 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Love has gotten used to his name being attached to potential deals. It has been that way since early in his career at Minnesota and it continues despite him being an integral part of a title run last season. "It's good to be wanted," he said.

Game Highlights: Isaiah Thomas scored 38 as the host Celtics beat the Lakers 113-107 for their sixth straight victory. Thomas has scored 20 or more in 34 straight games, six shy of John Havlicek's franchise-record streak. … Russell Westbrook scored 38 and had his 25th triple double of the season to lead the host Thunder past the Grizzlies 114-102. … Serge Ibaka scored 20 and grabbed 12 rebounds to help the host Magic defeat the Raptors 102-94.

Around the League: The Rockets retired the No. 11 jersey of Yao Ming. The 7-foot-6 center from China was the top pick in 2002 and was an eight-time All-Star, playing nine seasons before retiring because of injuries. … The Warriors waived veteran center Anderson Varejao. … The league fined Hawks forward Taurean Prince and Heat forward James Johnson $25,000 each for their roles in a scuffle during Wednesday's game.

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