While the Cavaliers’ roster appears very much in flux following the team’s second consecutive NBA Finals loss to the Warriors, Kevin Love says he would like to remain in Cleveland alongside LeBron James if possible.
As Matthew Florjancic of WKYC.com details, Love said after Friday’s loss that he likes playing for the Cavs and “always wanted to win here.” However, James’ free agency decision figures to dictate the direction of the organization, which Love recognizes.
“It’s something where I’m sure he will spend time with his family and when that time comes to make a decision, he will be in a good frame of mind,” Love said. “Obviously, I’d love to play with LeBron the rest of my career, but that will be a choice that he makes.”
Even if James decides to stay in Cleveland, there’s no guarantee that Love will be back too, since he could become a trade chip. However, the likelihood of the Cavs shopping Love would increase significantly if LeBron leaves, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Appearing on The Hoop Collective, Windhorst said there’s not “one player on that roster who is guaranteed to be back next year.”
“They start over (if James leaves),” Windhorst said, per RealGM.com. “They fully make Kevin Love available. I bet they would look for a first-round pick in that trade. He’s on the last year of a deal so they don’t want to take on money.”
Technically, Love remains under contract for two more years, but the final year of his deal in 2019/20 is a player option worth approximately $25.6MM. Love will be 30 years old next summer, and could decide to opt out and secure a longer-term contract, but his decision may hinge on how the 2018/19 season plays out. At this point, it remains unclear which team Love will be playing for by the time he becomes eligible to reach free agency.