It wasn’t quite a definitive announcement of his plans, but Cavs forward Kevin Love sounds like someone who is intent on returning to Cleveland next season, as Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. When asked if he’d be back with Cleveland, Love said, “No, I truly haven’t even thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year.” When asked if that game would be with the Cavs, he responded in the affirmative. Love has read the speculation about where he might bolt to next season, but he says that he hasn’t let that affect him.
“That’s something that I guess comes with the territory,” he said. “Anybody that has pending free agency coming up in the summer, I feel like that’s going to happen. I try to not pay attention to it. I mentioned earlier in the season I learned how to just, kind of took out my Twitter, forgot looking at any kind of social media kind of stuff. Maybe Instagram here and there, but that was really it. That’s kind of been put on the back burner for me.”
Love has a player option for next season worth more than $16.744MM. In January, he told Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group that he planned to opt in and remain a Cavalier.
But the decision to stay in Cleveland may not be entirely up to Love, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. If the Cavaliers want Tristan Thompson to be their power forward of the future and decide to reward him with a maximum contract, they may free up money by moving Love somewhere. One option could be a sign-and-trade deal that sends him to New York and brings back the Knicks’ No. 4 draft pick as part of the package, Berman speculates. Thompson and LeBron James share the same agent in Rich Paul, and James recently said that Thompson “should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career.”
Love also said Sunday that he and Boston’s Kelly Olynyk are back on good terms, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Love suffered the shoulder injury that knocked him out of the playoffs as he and Olynyk were chasing a loose ball during a first-round game. The Celtics had been mentioned as a possible destination for Love if he decides to pursue free agency, but there were rumors that the Olynyk incident may have removed Boston from Love’s list. That apparently is no longer a concern.
Arthur Hill contributed to this post.