What impact does Kevin Love have on the NBA title race? Based on predictions made by our ESPN Forecast panel, this star who has never made a postseason has the potential to completely shake up next year's championship picture.
Though the San Antonio Spurs are currently projected to win next season's title, they lose that status if Love gets traded to an Eastern contender. If the Cavs get Love, our panel has them as the overall 2015 title favorites. Same goes for the restocked Bulls if they acquire Minnesota's highly available power forward.
To be clear, these projections are pricing in the weakness of the East. We specifically asked panelists to predict a future Cavs (with Love) vs. Spurs Finals, and San Antonio came out as better than 60 percent favorites. The Spurs are thought to remain the league's best team, but they have to do more to make a Finals than an Eastern contender must.
The panel also sees Cleveland as the favorite to win the East if Love is not traded to Cleveland or Chicago. While adding Love certainly boosts the Cavs' chances, the panel sees a Love addition as far more important for Golden State than for Cleveland. Based on our projections, getting Love on the Warriors better than triples their chances of a title parade by the Bay.