Kevin Love Targeting Mid-January Return

Kevin Love, who underwent foot surgery just over a month ago, is aiming to return to the court for the Cavaliers in mid-January, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

While the team hasn’t issued a formal update on Love’s recovery timeline, the veteran power forward had a consultation with Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York on Monday, Vardon notes. Scans on his foot during that consultation came up clean, and he’s expected to begin ramping up his workouts in about three or four weeks.

Once Love gets healthy, the Cavaliers will face a series of decisions related to how to handle his playing time and whether to consider trading him. As Vardon details, the Cavs and Love entered the season hoping to be competitive, but his absence has helped cement the team’s place in the lottery so far.

Cleveland intends to have Love reclaim regular minutes when he returns, and he wants to play, per Vardon, but the equation won’t be that simple. A healthy and effective Love may compromise the Cavs’ odds of landing a top 2019 draft pick, so management will have to find the right balance between its short- and long-term goals.

For his part, head coach Larry Drew expects the Cavs to improve significantly with Love back on the floor.

“I think we’ll be a lot better,” Drew said, per Vardon. “Kevin has been our go-to guy, and we haven’t had that all season long. … And then Kevin gives us, not taking anything away from our other big guys, but he’s our No. 1 post priority and we haven’t had that all year. That makes it tough. With a healthy Kevin Love in our lineup, we’re a much better basketball team.”

If they really want to bottom out to finish the 2018/19 season, the Cavs could consider trading Love, but team officials tell Vardon that there has been no discussion of that scenario so far. The club still envisions Love and young point guard Collin Sexton as foundational pieces and wants to see them play together. Plus, executives around the NBA believe that the 30-year-old’s injury history and his new contract, which runs through 2022/23, would diminish his value on the trade market anyway.

We’re still more than two months away from this season’s February 7 trade deadline, so there will be time for Love to return and show he’s healthy before then, and time for the Cavs to reconsider their stance if they so choose. For now though, it appears the team intends to keep the five-time All-Star in their long-term plans.

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6 thoughts on “Kevin Love Targeting Mid-January Return

  1. Tramore

    Love and Frye to Portland for Harkless, Leonard, and a unprotected 19 first round pick.

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  2. Ptn18

    A $30mm contract with Love’s injury history makes it hard to believe anyone would want it, almost like John Wall. Love says he’s upset the Cavs changed course and let Korver and J.R. go. He says now he envisions a scenario when he comes back (sounds like he’s coming back near the January 24 date he’s eligible to be traded) and could be traded for young players and picks. Recent trades show general managers aren’t giving players away. San Antonio, Indiana, and Minnesota look like they came out better than everyone thought they would. If the Cavs trade Love, they’ll have to go into the rebuild mode.

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  3. x%sure

    If Love wants to stay, they won’t move him. But,
    Love may prefer moving if goals have changed.
    HR said previous Love talk involved EC teams.
    EC January trades, RealGM trade-checkered:

    1. WAS Porter & Satoransky or Brown (or both less Frye)
    2. MIL Henson, Dellavedova, Brogdon
    3. IND Young, Turner
    4. CHA Batum, Bridges

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    • x%sure

      And the Cleveland YA fans would finally get their Wiggy.

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