Kevin Love withdrew from Team USA but not looking to retire from NBA

0 Comments

Kevin Love isn’t done playing professional basketball.

He was done with Team USA, where he felt he was not healthy enough to play at his peak and help the squad at the Tokyo Olympics. The reason he withdrew is the same injury that cost him most of last season, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

According to a source, this is not a new injury. Love is still feeling the effects of a lingering right calf strain that limited him to just 25 games during the 2020-21 season, where he averaged 12.2 points per game, lowest since his rookie season, to go with 7.4 rebounds.

Those lingering health concerns do not mean Love is considering retiring.

At this point, sources say, retirement has not been discussed or considered. Love is still enthusiastic about the upcoming season. He still loves the game. But as he enters season 14, even Love admits it’s time to reset expectations.

“I think I understand that probably being that number one guy, playing 35 minutes and getting 20 touches a game, is probably in my rear view,” Love said recently. “I don’t try to put a ceiling or limit on myself at all. So long as I’m feeling good, I know that I’m going to play good. I’m going to chase the game like I always have. But I do believe that if it’s asked for me to have to pivot in my career for a team to win, I’m more than I’m willing to do that.”

Love is owed $60.2 million over the next two years — there is no chance he is walking away from that much money.

That contract, combined with his injury history, makes it very difficult to trade Love. To do so would require throwing in picks or young players of value as sweeteners, and the rebuilding Cavaliers should not be in the business of giving up young players right now.

Love trade rumors will continue to float around until he is moved or retired, but for now expect Love to be back in a Cavaliers uniform next season. How much he can help the team, if he is ready to play at an NBA level, remain the questions.