Kevin Love is staying in Cleveland for now and for the long-term future.
The All-Star forward signed a four year, $120 million dollar extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday morning. The extension will kick in following the 2018-19 season, totaling his deal to five years, $145 million.
Love took to Instagram after signing his new deal
Love left $9.7 million on the table and if he would’ve waited until next summer, he could’ve signed a five year, $221 million dollar supermax contract so in total, Love left over $100 million dollars on the table to sign long-term with Cleveland.
There was talk after Lebron James decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers that Cleveland was shopping Love in trade talks but the more general manager Koby Altman and head coach Ty Lue talked, the more you got the sense that they thought he would be part of the long-term plan of the franchise.
Love has been an integral part of the franchise’s success during the last four seasons and despite all the trade rumors and talk surrounding him, he’s stayed committed and loyal to the Cavaliers organization and the city of Cleveland.
When Lebron James returned to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, the first person he talked to was Kevin Love and began recruiting him to the Cavaliers. One month later, the team finalized a trade to send #1 picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team trade.
Over the past four seasons, Love has averaged 17.1 points and 10 rebounds per game in 271 games played. In 63 career playoff games with Cleveland, Love has averaged 15.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
He’s been selected to two All-Star games and has been part of four Eastern Conference championship teams and was a member of the 2016 NBA Championship team where he made “The Stop” when he locked down then NBA MVP Stephen Curry on the Warriors second to last possession to essentially clinch the championship.
Love had has his injury problems during his NBA career and during his tenure in Cleveland.
In 2015, he dislocated his shoulder when Celtics center Kelly Olynyk grabbed Love’s arm and pulled it while the two were tangled up. Love ended up missing the rest of the postseason after undergoing surgery.
In 2017, he had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery which caused him to miss six weeks and in 2018, he fractured his hand which also caused him to miss six weeks of action. He’s also had multiple concussions, one during the 2016 playoffs and another during the 2018 playoffs.
This extension shows that the Cavaliers are still committed to winning despite the departure of Lebron James. They see Love not only as the cornerstone of the franchise but also as a great mentor towards the young players and want him to be part of the “rebuilding” process.
Obviously Love knows that things won’t be the same as they were the past four years but he also knows that he can be the leader of this young group of players including Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic along with the veteran players like Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver and Channing Frye.
The extension also doesn’t hurt their long-term flexibility in terms of cap space. The team is projected to have around $25 million in cap space for next offseason and in the summer of 2020, the team is currently projected to have $70 million in cap space which could be potentially for two max players to play alongside Love.
However, that will change as the team will look to extend forward Larry Nance Jr.’s contract which Brian Windhorst of ESPN is the team’s next priority and the team is still planning on bringing back restricted free agent guard Rodney Hood.