Since the start of the season Kevin Love has been insistent that he will be back with the Cavaliers next season.
All through the ups-and-downs of a season where he struggled to find his comfort level playing next to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving — and while rumors he wanted out flew around the league — he publicly never waivered from this stance.
That’s not changing now. Love addressed the media on Sunday, and here are some comments, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.
First off, even if he was thinking of opting out and testing the waters, this is the only thing he would possibly say right now. Especially with the Cavaliers about to tip-off in the Finals.
Love has been out of the playoffs since Boston’s Kelly Olynyk’s tug dislocated his arm in a way that required surgery to fix. The rumors of Love leaving have grown as Tristan Thompson has looked more comfortable in the Cavaliers’ offense. Love has a player option for this summer.
That said I never have thought Love would leave this year. The idea that Love values his touches and points more than being on a winning team (which he would deny) is rooted in an idea of Love’s concern about his image. If he leaves this summer that image will take a beating. Even if he goes to be the face of the Lakers and get the torch from Kobe Bryant (and that always has been the most likely landing spot) the national spin will be “he cared more about his numbers than getting rings, he couldn’t handle the pressure of playing next to LeBron.”
In a year or two that spin may be different. Maybe he’s not a Cavalier long term. But for now, he’d have to really want out of a city and team he pretty much forced his way into. It would not look good.
By the way, Love is looking pretty svelte.