Feb 9, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) reacts in the second quarter against the LA Clippers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Love decided to spread some love despite missing out on some hardware this year.
On Tuesday, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Herro won in a landslide, earning 96 out of 100 first-place votes.
The Cleveland Cavaliers big man Love finished in second place with three first-place votes and 214 total points overall (to Herro’s 488 total points). Love congratulated Herro with a very classy message on Twitter.
“Everyone who knows me knows I love Tyler Herro’s game (and swag),” wrote the veteran Love. “much respect on an incredible 6th man campaign. Best is yet to come for @raf_tyler”
Everyone who knows me knows I love Tyler Herro’s game (and swag) – much respect on an incredible 6th man campaign. Best is yet to come for @raf_tyler 📈📈📈 https://t.co/vTTG0PxGEZ
The 22-year-old Herro had a sublime regular season, averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. It was the fourth-highest scoring campaign in the 30-season history of the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
But Love, 33, deserves his recognition what he did this season as well. Just when you thought he had nothing left in the tank, Love threw up a 14-7 line in just over 22 minutes per game and helped the Cavs to their first winning season since LeBron James exited. As for his message for Herro here, Love clearly never misses an opportunity to give props to the younger generation.
“I mean, that’s like a storybook ending for him,” said Love of James, his old teammate. “I don’t want to project what he may or may not want to do, but where our team is trending and how we’re set up to win for a very long time and how much, you know, Cleveland and Akron and all of Ohio loves him. It’d be great to get Bronny [James] over here too and then we’ll call it a day.”
As it stands right now, the Los Angeles Lakers star James can become a free agent in 2023 (which is also when Love’s contract with the Cavs will expire). The 43-36 Cavs are also way ahead of the 31-47 Lakers in the standings right now and have a much brighter outlook than the Lakers for the coming years.
James and Love were teammates in Cleveland from 2014 to 2018. Though their relationship was not always a perfect one, they won the NBA title in 2016 together and remain close friends. But while Love may want James back on the Cavs, the same is not necessarily true for everyone else in the organization. There are already some signs that the Cavs would prefer to move on from James for good.
Photo: Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James got Kevin Love an NBA championship ring in 2016, but now he may have just ended Love’s NBA career.
The Los Angeles Lakers star James dunked his old teammate Love into dust during Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Late in the first half, James cut down the lane and received a pass from teammate Austin Reaves. Love tried to step in for the charge as James hit the launching pad area, but it was too late. James elevated right over the top and slammed Love into the next dimension.
If you look closely, you can see the exact moment that Love’s soul leaves his body. In all seriousness though, it almost looks like Love was trying to make a business decision and get out of the way at the last second but was unable to do so before getting banged on.
James and Love were teammates in Cleveland for four seasons from 2014 to 2018. While the two made four straight Finals together and won a ring, they definitely had an up-and-down relationship. On Monday, their relationship was up and down as well — James going up and Love going down.
“We didn’t realize exactly what we had,” said the veteran Love. “What we had was so special … We were the most talented, underachieving regular season team of all-time. Without question. We didn’t care until the playoffs.
“We were ‘Days Of Our Lives,'” Love added. “We had so many storylines. We thrived under chaos. But when it came time, we had fun. We had the best times … Best years of my life.”
It is definitely interesting for Love to flat-out admit that the Cavs did not care about the regular season that year. While they had just made the Finals in 2015, the Cavs had yet to win it all before that season. The team was also integrating a new head coach in Tyronn Lue, who took over in the middle of the season, as well as new rotation players like Frye and Richard Jefferson.
In hindsight, the fact that the Cavs were coasting during the regular season was pretty apparent at times, especially on the part of their leader James. While the Cavs won a championship that year and made two more Finals appearances after that, it is probably not a practice that other contenders should imitate.
Photo: Feb 9, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) reacts in the second quarter against the LA Clippers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Love only played in 25 games last season and has not been much of a factor since LeBron James left the Cavaliers. He has participated with USA Basketball since 2010 and was part of their 2012 Olympic gold-medal winning team. But Love said that he was not fully recovered from his calf injury when he attempted to help the team this summer, which led to his poor results.
Kevin Love’s camp strongly disputed rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers forward is working toward a contract buyout with the team.
Love’s agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday that there have been no discussions about a buyout with the Cavaliers, nor does Love want one.
“There have been no talks with Cleveland on a buyout, nor is there any interest from Kevin in doing a buyout,” Schwartz said.
This runs counter to a report that emerged Friday indicating that the two sides were making progress on a buyout. This would likely be preferable for Cleveland, as it would allow them to save a bit on the two years and $60 million remaining on Love’s contract. The upside for Love would be that he would be able to sign with a team of his choosing.
With the additions of Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen, Love’s minutes may be reduced next season. The Cavaliers would love to trade him, and there has been some interest, but the contract will make that tough.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are making significant moves late in the NBA offseason, and might have another big one to come.
An NBA source told Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Cavaliers are “making progress” on a contract buyout with forward Kevin Love. However, the source added that the negotiations could still fall apart, and nothing is close to finalized yet.
Love has two years and $60 million remaining on his deal with Cleveland, and does not fit well on a team currently rebuilding and getting younger. The veteran turns 33 in September and injuries limited him to 25 games last season. His role with the Cavaliers looks even further limited now that the team brought in Lauri Markkanen, a much younger stretch four who could occupy a similar role.
Love could certainly find a role on a contender if he is bought out, as a handful of teams were said to be interested in trading for him earlier in the offseason. With his contract less of an issue in a buyout scenario, he may attract even more widespread interest if and when he does part ways with the Cavaliers.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was gonna play,” said Colangelo. “I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play. He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. On the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience who at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball. You know, being like a 12th man on a roster.
“Well, it didn’t work out,” Colangelo went on. “He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake.”
Love, who was a member of the United States’ gold medal team at the 2012 London Olympics, got selected to the original 12-man roster for the Tokyo Games. He ultimately withdrew before the third exhibition contest though, citing the lingering effects of a calf injury. Love was effectively replaced by JaVale McGee on the roster.
Kevin Love’s withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics is the latest in a disappointing last few years for his basketball career. But the Cleveland Cavaliers big man is not ready to walk away from the game just yet.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported on Saturday that Love is not yet considering retirement despite his injury-hobbled last few seasons. Fedor notes that the soon-to-be 33-year-old still loves the game. However, the Cavs will soon sit down with Love to discuss his future.
Love decided to pull out of the Olympics this week because of the lingering effects of a right calf injury that kept him out for the majority of the NBA season. The five-time All-Star has been limited to just 103 appearances over the last three seasons with various ailments. The time that Love has been on the court is more remembered for his public fits of temper than anything.
Overall though, Love has had a fruitful 13-season NBA career that has netted him multiple All-NBA selections and a championship in 2016. But Love is still owed $60.2 million in guaranteed money over the next two years. That gives him major incentive to stick around. An opportunity to leave Cleveland for greener pastures may also be awaiting Love.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers finally want to close the book on the Kevin Love era, they may have to attach one of their top young assets to make it happen.
Cavs beat writer Jason Lloyd of The Athletic wrote this weekend that it might make sense for Cleveland to package Love and Collin Sexton together in a trade this offseason. Lloyd notes that the 22-year-old Sexton is “very available.”
Love, 32, is already drawing some interest as a potential buyout candidate. But he still has two years and $60.2 million left on his contract, making a buyout more cumbersome. As for Sexton, we recently heard that the Cavs are shopping him. His value may be at a peak after he averaged a team-high 24.3 points per game this season. Cleveland also holds the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, putting them in the mix for a dynamic guard like Jalen Green or Jalen Suggs.
It would be pretty funny though for Love to finally leave Cleveland and still be teammates with Sexton. After all, the two have not always gotten along.