As the trade deadline looms over the uncertain futures of contenders and rebuilders across the league, there were some exciting matchups and performances on Monday night.
Kevin Love has been the subject of many trade rumors, as the former NBA Finals champion is on a Cleveland Cavaliers team that has no chance of competing in the remaining years of Love’s career. The visibly frustrated Love is averaging 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 38% from three, including a 33-point, 13-rebound performance against the New York Knicks on Monday night. He is the ideal stretch four for a team looking to make a playoff push, particularly the Portland Trail Blazers. A reunion with former teammate LeBron James isn’t in the works.
In a losing effort to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored 43 points, adding to his All-Star snub candidacy. He is one of the biggest snubs in recent memory, averaging 29.2 points per game. Beal has been linked to different trade rumors, especially those including the Los Angeles Lakers. Beal, who has expressed interest in remaining in Washington, is stuck on a Wizards team that is without point guard John Wall for the next season and a half.
The Miami Heat, who now boast a 34-15 record, won at home 137-106 against the Philadelphia 76ers behind Jimmy Butler’s 38 points. Butler was voted to this year’s All-Star game, with averages of 20.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He has turned around the culture of the Heat, who are now contenders in the Eastern Conference. Their great bench depth and rise of young players has catapulted the Heat into a tie for the three seed in the Eastern Conference.