Cavs Sign Kevin Love To Four-Year Extension

The Cavaliers have insisted all offseason that they don’t intend to trade Kevin Love, and now they’ve doubled down on that position, locking up the All-Star forward to a long-term contract. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, Love has signed a four-year, $120MM extension with the Cavs. The club has confirmed the deal in a press release.

“When I first came to Cleveland, I came with a long-term mindset,” Love said in a statement. “I came here to win. We developed a culture here that reflects that. I’m super excited and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a big commitment for me and it’s a big commitment from the Cavaliers, so I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman and the entire organization. I enjoy playing here, I’m excited about the team that we have and look forward to our future together.”

As part of the agreement, Love has declined his player option for 2019/20, with the first year of his new deal replacing that option. Factoring in the final year of his current contract, which will pay him $24.12MM in 2018/19, the veteran big man is on track to earn nearly $145MM over the next five seasons. The extension won’t include a player option or a no-trade clause, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

Love, who joined the Cavaliers shortly after LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, has averaged 17.1 PPG and 10.0 RPG during his four years with the franchise. Although he earned a pair of All-Star nods during those seasons, he was never the centerpiece of the Cavs’ offense the way he was in Minnesota, when he averaged 23.5 PPG and 13.7 RPG in his last four years with the Timberwolves.

The Cavs’ new deal for Love, which will run through 2023, looks like a bet on him recapturing his Wolves form – at least to some extent – now that he no longer has to take a back seat to James and Kyrie Irving. While an increasing salary cap will make the contract more manageable in future seasons, it’s still a significant investment in a player who will turn 30 in September and will be 34 by the end of the deal.

Following James’ departure from Cleveland earlier this month, the Cavs insisted both publicly and privately that trading Love wasn’t in their plans, though multiple reports suggested that he wasn’t untouchable either. Today’s move ensures that Love will remain a Cavalier for the foreseeable future — because his deal exceeds the limit for an extend-and-trade transaction, he can’t be dealt for the next six months.

An extension for Love can start at up to 120% of his 2018/19 salary, and according to Windhorst (Twitter link), it will do just that. Windhorst notes that the deal will be worth the maximum allowable amounts in the first two years before staying the same in the third year, then decreasing in the final year. It’s about $8-9MM less than Love’s maximum possible contract extension starting in ’19/20, adds Windhorst.

Based on my calculations, that structure should result in salaries of approximately $28.9MM (2019/20), $31.3MM (2020/21), $31.3MM (2021/22), and $28.9MM (2022/23).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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66 thoughts on “Cavs Sign Kevin Love To Four-Year Extension

  1. ThePriceWasRight

    huh? 30 million a year for a guy who has trouble staying in the lineup and likely can’t lead a team. desperate much Cavs?

    • east333

      His health isn’t that much different from several other all stars. With LeBron gone he’s liable to play like he did Minnesota, which I’m sure the Cavs ate banking on while having another speedy PG to play with in Sexton. Not to mention if they recoup his value, they can later trade him if they want. They have no guaranteed contracts after 2019. Might as well use future payroll to lock up an established player. This seems like a smart move not a desperate one.

      • akaydn

        If I remember correctly KL’s last T-Wolves team had a shiny new lottery pick at PG and still finished sub .500 on the season. If 26/12 on average and 35-40 wins is his best what’s the point of spending all this money? By the time the team is ready to win he will be older and less effective and the Cavs will be good enough to stay at the end of the lottery each year until he’s gone.

      • jeb39999

        I feel like there is very little chance he plays at a high enough level for long enough to make this contract anything but a mistake.

    • justinept

      It’s an overpay for sure. But the Cavs don’t really have the pieces to improve externally, and I don’t think they want to go through a full rebuild after the last one- which was disastrous until LeBron returned.

      As much as it might buck the current trend, I think the Cavs are satisfied competing for the 7th or 8th seed for the next couple years.

      • knickscavsfan

        I don’t know if “disastrous” is fair to say. Every rebuild, especially after the departure of a major star, is of course going to be painful. There was a +14 increase from the first year w/o LBJ to the year before he returned. Aside from a couple of bad drafts, they really didn’t make any mistakes.

        • east333

          They saved money on this deal. He would’ve cost more had they waited until next summer. This is 1000% a win/win for player and team.

          • pihc

            Yes. And having the best pick in the history of the game was pretty awesome along with a very good #1 pick in Irving. Those ships are hard to come by in the NBA.

          • Itrainsontuesday

            They also flipped that bust with Wiggins, who hasn’t been spectacular for Love

            • east333

              I assume you mean Anthony Bennett? Do your homework son. Look up Sam Bowie and Greg Oden.

              • Portland took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. Oh my! Good memory east333!

              • justinept

                Bowie wasn’t the 1 pick, but yea, he was a bust primarily due to injury. Oden was also a bust due to injury. Bennett was a bust due to talent. A better comp for that would be Olowakandi.

  2. formerlyz

    Get that money. Smart move by him to lock that up in this market. Not terrible for Cleveland, but that might be about $20 million more than I think they could have kept him for.

  3. ohioplayers

    I don’t get how paying an above average, injury prone player $30M through his age 34 season helps if we are rebuilding and I don’t see any indication that we are doing anything but pressing reset after LeBron left again

  4. driftcat28

    I think it’s a good move since the Cavs are still trying to make the playoffs this year instead of tanking. Love can get them the 8th or 7th seed in the East

  5. Michael Chaney

    I don’t think it’s a significant overpay; they probably paid too much, but it’s not a ridiculous deal either. I’ll take it, especially if he can dominate like in Minnesota.

    That said, I was kinda hoping they’d tank for a year or two so they could avoid trading Atlanta their first rounder, but I think they’re content to tread water for now. Maybe they’ll try to use their future cap flexibility to chase another star.

    • east333

      Gilbert went on the record admitting he was going to be excited not having any current player on the payroll after 2019 season. Now jay Love and Sexton with Nance Jr getting locked up soon.

    • formerlyz

      That and also the top 2-4 guys in the draft this year could be top pieces. But if they have some defenders and shooters around him, they’re at least better than Minnesota was back then, and they almost made the playoffs in the West that one year. With the cap where it’s at, it can be argued that moving forward it makes more sense to be competitive, and leave yourself open to the ability to add someone in a trade, or add to your team in free agency, either through cap flexibility or with good enough contracts to move in a sign and trade. There is a benefit to being a winning environment as well as being as bad as possible.

      It can be argued that in Cleveland, it makes more sense to tear down b/c you cant get guys to come in free agency, but that is now a championship franchise, which has allure to it, and having a player like Kevin Love already there, as well as some potential dynamic pieces like Sexton and Osman, a young scorer off the bench in Hood, and some shooters around them, plus cap space, it’s a totally different situation than it was when LeBron went to Miami, and that could allow them to be players on the market, especially if teams use up their space next offseason.

      I personally dont know if this is the right move for Cleveland, but I can see them thinking they aren’t bad enough this year, with George Hill, JR Smith, Osman, Nance, Love and Hood, Clarkson, Tristan Thompson, Sexton, etc off the bench…

  6. When a player like CP3 is making 44 million this to Love is not an overpay. It is just the NBA

    • formerlyz

      Chris Paul is still a top 6 player in the NBA, although he has had some injuries recently. Barring a major injury, I would rather pay Chris Paul at ages 36-37, especially when my choices are limited b/c of Houston’s situation, than Kevin Love at ages 33-34. That being said, as I mentioned previously, I dont think it’s that much of an overpay, although I do think it is an overpay

        • formerlyz

          LeBron, KD, Kawhi*(if healthy), Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry is my list off the top of my head. Heading into next year, I might say the next 3 are Embiid, Butler, and Giannis, but I usually redo my top 25-30 list before the season starts, so I would have to think more about it

            • formerlyz

              I had Lillard 3rd or 4th in MVP this year. That doesnt make him better than any of those players

              • east333

                If you can’t see how bad Paul’s game has aged you must think Carmelo and Wade are still superstars too.

                  • east333

                    I did. I also kept note of all the games he missed since he’s getting up there. You can make the argument for CP3 being a top 6 PG but not a top 6 player anymore. I mean, that’s just not even opinion. That’s just facts.

  7. Senioreditor

    I’m kinda speechless on this move? Why? Is he a more tradeable asset now? They’re years away from actually competing again and just signed an injury prone aging asset to a very large contact? In my opinion it’s a real head scratcher.

    • knickscavsfan

      Some teams may want Love but may be worried about him opting out and walking as a FA. This would give them more years of control?

      I’m a bit skeptical on whether this was a good move without understanding the game plan.

      • east333

        Love just posted a selfie with everyone that’s helping rebuild the arena. He wants to stay in Ohio. He wants to be here and play with Sexton. The Cavs aren’t going to suck like they did the last time the King left!!! Yes!!!

  8. David D

    Good for him! Doesn’t mean he can’t be moved. Didn’t the Clippers move Blake Griffin to Detroit, less than a year after locking him up on an $173 mil., 5 year extension?

    Just depends when/if the Cav’s will go into full rebuild mode.

    • formerlyz

      Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’d pay Blake Griffin $30 million more than Kevin Love. Griffin is younger, more skilled, and plays above the rim, but he disappears, doesnt rebound or shoot as well as Kevin Love, and they’re about equal defenders at this point

  9. knickscavsfan

    Interesting move. I felt they should’ve torn it all down, collect assets and rebuild. However, the fans who spend $$ may not have embraced the idea of “giving up” because your supposed to once LBJ leaves. Gilbert was always in love (no pun) with Love and was actively trying to trade for him PRIOR to LBJ’s return home announcement. Keeping Love makes the Cavs a 7th-8th seed imo. Meh.

    I think Gilbert wants to prove to the world that a Cavs team sanz LBJ can be a properly run franchise. Keep in mind that he purchased the team with LBJ there. When he left the 1st time, he left a team filled with bloated contracts of “win now’ veterans brought in with the sole purpose of being role players to play along side LBJ.

    They traded for Baron Davis’ bad contract which came with a 1st rnd pick that later became Kyrie Irving. They missed on some top picks but did draft Tristan, Dion Waiters and of course Andrew Wiggins. They moved from 19-21-24 to 33 wins. Still awful but one could argue that a team with Kyrie, Wiggins, Thompson and Waiters that they at least had some upside and were getting better.

    If Love prospers and returns back to be at least a 22/12 kind of player, Sexton has a good solid rookie year , Hood, Clarkson, Nance, Osman, etc develop quickly and Lue proves he can coach w/o LBJ and the franvhise starts to show stability then maybe they can attract a FA that would be a difference maker in the last two years of Love’s contract? Still seems a bit of a reach tho.

  10. Kenleyfornia74

    Good move for the Cavs. That franchise needs to learn to win without Lebron and this is a good first step.

    • moazetongue

      Exactly. The warriors are going to win. and then there’s everyone else. Better to win as much as you can while putting people in the seats than to have a product that sucks for several years.

  11. Good move for both sides. This type of extension has been turned down by almost all players with his resume and this type of contract. It’s NOT an overpay. Unless you think he’s overpaid now (and thus has negative value); and I haven’t heard that from any one. To the contrary, he was considered a trade chip by everyone, despite the option which reduces his trade value. Basically, with this move, Love forfeits his option year for just a 12.5% raise (when the cap will have increased 70-75% from when his contract was signed), and then adds 3 years at normal raises of 8%. If he had trade value before (and he did), he has more now.

  12. I’m shocked! If you can get a marquee free agent outside of LeBron in Cleveland, you’d better take him, they’re aren’t many. They can build around him and Sexton with tier 2 free agents next summer. Love said he wants to be a 1st option.

    • Hill and Love did excell with LeBron off the floor during the playoffs. When LeBron had to go to the locker room in the Pacers series, both took over.

      • I’m with east333, the Cavs won’t suck like they did last time. When Hill excelled with coach Popovich in San Antonio, he played shooting guard. This would give the Cavs a defensive guard to put next to Sexton. Hood would likely start at small forward. Give him a chance without LeBron being there to shoot down his confidence. I’d guess Love and Tristan would be on the floor together. In the east, it’s possible this groupo could be a 7 or 8 seed. GET RID OF J.R.

        • east333

          I’m willing to bet JR is going to see his minutes decrease once Hood gets resigned. He’s barely a fan favorite here since he lost his shooting. I agree you Mio, Hill gets a bad rep because of his contract but he’s a good role player. Adds a veteran prescience on the team besides Love and Channing Frye. The only weakest links on this team is JR and the coach. Which Lue hasn’t had a chance to really coach with LeBron being there.

          • moazetongue

            Yup. Lie suddenly realizes he needs to stiy up on nba offenses and defenses.

  13. Totally agree with DXC, very good comment. Surely is a very good move for both K-Love & Cleveland, very happy for him, he definitely is worth it & has earned it during his career, a true all-star, he was an otherworldly player in Minny, hopefully he can go back to that.

  14. pihc

    “Yesssssssss!” – Napoleon Dynamite

    Glad his here long term. “I’m picking up good vibrations.” – Mike Love

  15. joemoes

    No brainer for Love. He has a ring, he probably wouldn’t get this much money as a free agent especially if he gets hurt again next year. Love set him up and his family for generations .

    • He doesn’t need the money. His dad was an NBA player. His girlfriend is a former Playboy playmate.
      You’re right. He probably wouldn’t get a max anywhere and he knew it. He did take less than the max to help the Cavs sign free agents, ala Durant. Wish LeBron would have done that!

      • east333

        At least LeBron turned the future of Andrew Wiggins and Kyrie Irving into the success and future success of Love. Irving won’t play til 30. He can be on all the video game covers and magazine ads but he’s much more consistently hurt than Love. I do wish LeBron wouldn’t have taken four straight max years while he was with the Cavs.

  16. Z-A

    Hmm. I think for him, this was all about financial future, he has a ring. No one was going to give him that money. For the Cavs it’s like a desperate effort to try and make Cleveland a destination for a potential FA.

  17. Familia1931

    Why is it that everyone assumes that if your team cant potentially win a chip, then you should tank? 1 team will win every year, 29 will lose. As a business owner, you field a competitive team that is fun to watch so your stands can fill up and your business can prosper. The Cavs team is decent, and they just have to attract another guy there. Look at Indiana with Oladipo. The Cavs can be decent still, and maybe go after a star player (no super star).

    • Milwaukee’s Middleton would be a good gety next summjer if Milwaukee doesn’t keep him. The way the Pacers look at it is you can fill more seats being competitive than you can tanking. Why not if you know you have no chance of winning a title. President Kevin Pritchard said he’d take $12MM guys over A $30MM guy any day. A $30MM guy can set you back years if he fails. Look at the Pacers roster. Oladipo makes $21MM. Everyone else is around $12MM. Young at $13.5MM. Once J.R. and TT are gone, the Cavs won’t be in bad shape. I think they’ll resign Hill for less money.

  18. x%sure

    Very much in favor. At one point, I said extend him or trade him. Either way would work with me; but this way the burden of making smart moves are reduced for GM Altman, which makes an extension the #1 option. Also this move is consistent with Boss Gilbert’s desire to win without James.

    As for Love’s age, he can easily move to center, so that is not a major issue. Nance will be there to cover the quickest big of necessary.

    Love, Nance, a more mature TT, & Frye as bigs; Zizic may be ready. I would like them to sign Alan Williams, David West, or Lucas Nogueira also; maybe David Nwaba.

    Sexton, Hood, Osman, Clarkson, Korver is a group at least watchable, plus stretchables Hill & Smith.

    Frankly the adjective “watchable” is good enough for me 2019! Looking forward.

    • moazetongue

      Should be fun. We all know prior to the season who’s going to win it all. So there’s everyone else. Might as well put people in the stand rather than try to get a #10 pick in next year’s draft and hope and pray he’s as good as KLove.

  19. If Love starts bringing the ball up, dribbles around until the shot clock is ready to expire, then takes a shot or passes it, I’m going to go to a game and tie Love to a chair on the bench. It’ll be enjoyable to watch with Sexton running the offense, and all 5 guys being involved.

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