Since the day Kevin Love became a Cleveland Cavalier, there have been a handful of things that have seemingly been obvious over the last four seasons: He will be involved in trade rumors and/or trade talks basically every single day,1 Love will continue to produce both in the scoring column and on the glass, his play will be scrutinized even when he’s playing at his best, Lil’ Kev will be his biggest fan,2 and last but certainly not least, he will put all of those doubters behind him and continue to make the Cavaliers better and be one of the main reasons why the wine and gold have made four straight NBA Finals appearances.
With LeBron James’ future in question this summer, Love’s future in Cleveland may also be in question as well. Will he get traded if No. 23 remains a Cav? Will he stay with the wine and gold if James stays? If the King decides to go elsewhere, will the sharpshooter be traded and forced to find a new home because Cleveland will begin a rebuild? Much like his four years so far as a Cavalier, this entire offseason is one big question mark for Love. Even with that, the veteran has already stated that he not only wants to remain in Cleveland the rest of his career, but he wants James to be his teammate while donning the wine and gold until he decides to retire as well.
“Anything is possible. People have been saying that for the past four years. I knew that question would come, but I like to be here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here,” he told WKYC’s Matthew Florjancic.
“It’s something where I’m sure he will spend time with his family and when that times 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 though he was never really sure if the trade rumors would actually become reality, the forward never allowed it to bother him, at least on the court. When he was asked about the idea of being traded, he would either deflect the question or have a valid, intelligent answer in response to it. Love has been a true professional, all while doing his best to make the Cavs the best team they could possibly be no matter who the opponent was.
During his first three years in Cleveland, he did well as the team’s third option behind James and point guard Kyrie Irving. As the Cavs’ second-best option in 2018-19, the five-time All-Star had his most efficient season in Cleveland, averaging 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 41.5 percent from beyond the arc in 28 minutes a night, his lowest over the last four years. He did all that while nursing a broken bone in his left hand that he suffered at the end of January.
Although he had his most efficient season as a Cav during his 59 regular season games, the 29-year-old somewhat struggled in the postseason, at least for his standards. Love averaged 14.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game but shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and 34 percent from three-point range, both of which were playoff lows for his career.
He may have struggled at times during the Cavs’ latest playoff run, but that doesn’t diminish what he has done as a member of the wine and gold. He could have easily let all the rumors affect him but he never did. Love can potentially be a Cavalier once next season rolls around, but it could lean on what James decides to do. There is probably a greater chance that the forward remains a Cav if No. 23 stays in Cleveland. But even if he does, there’s a chance that Love could be traded as well. Much like James’ decision that will take place over the next month or so, Love’s future in Cleveland is also unknown. But at least he wants to remain a Cavalier, right?
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has already reported that if James decides to go elsewhere, Cleveland will make Love available in trade talks.
“They fully make Kevin Love available,” he said. “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.”
Remember when some people questioned whether James and Love even liked each other as teammates? That seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it? Now, Love wants to finish his career with the King. I mean, who wouldn’t? Then again, it says a lot about the pair’s relationship as well. If the sharpshooter does, in fact, finish his career with No. 23, hopefully it’s at least in Cleveland.