The past year hasn’t gone as planned for Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. In this season’s preseason opener, Love suffered a calf injury that limited him to only 25 games during the 2020-21 campaign. He had attempted to use a surprise appearance on Team USA’s roster to get back on track, but he needed to withdraw due to that same calf injury. Injuries have been a frequent occurrence for Love over the last several seasons. A foot injury limited him to 22 games in the 2018-19 season, and now, the question is how Love will respond to this latest setback.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, retirement is not an option Love is considering. Love will sit down with the Cavaliers at some point this offseason to discuss his future, but for the time being, Love wants to continue to play. He has an enormous financial incentive to do so. Love is owed over $60 million for the next two seasons, and he has little reason to sacrifice that money. He has acknowledged recently though that his role is probably going to change if he is going to contribute to a winning team again.
“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 when he was still with Team USA. “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.”
Such a role change would surely help Love extend his career, but it’s unclear if he will be doing so in Cleveland. He has shown visible frustration with the young Cavaliers since LeBron James left in 2018, and trade rumors have been frequent since then. At this stage, though, it is unlikely that a team will prove willing to take on Love’s enormous contract. If he wants to leave Cleveland, he would likely have to give up some more to pursue a buyout as Blake Griffin did with the Pistons.
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Any conversations on that front will be had as the offseason develops. For now, Love is focused on recovering from his calf injury and getting into game shape for next season. He might play next season in Cleveland or he might play it somewhere else, but for now, it at least appears certain that he isn’t ready to call it quits quite yet.