The Cavaliers undoubtedly will look different this year – after all LeBron James opted out of his contract over the summer and signed with the Lakers – which was one hesitation forward Kevin Love had before signing his contract extension.
Love gave some insight into what went into the talks before he signed a new deal with the Cavaliers. He told reporters Friday that he needed some reassurance from GM Koby Altman and owner Dan Gilbert that Cleveland would still be competitive, even without James, who led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals the past four seasons.
“The only thing I didn’t want was I didn’t want to be with a team that was going to tank or not be competitive,” Love said, per cleveland.com. “I’ve been a part of that for a couple of years (in Minnesota), and then we started to build something. I wanted this to be a building year and still be competitive. That was my only holdup about the whole thing. They had told me they didn’t want to take a huge step back.
“I mean, obviously, losing LeBron you know what is going to happen with that, but I wanted to be part of something where we could continue to strive for all these banners up here and build something for the next several years.”
Love, who signed a four-year, $120 million extension during the offseason, said the whole process didn’t take long, and he revealed he didn’t ask for more money than what was offered.
“It got done relatively fast,” Love said of the negotiations. “I don’t know the number of days, but between my agent, Koby and Dan and me just having constant conversations with my agent it didn’t seem to be that long.
“They knew I wanted to be back, and [I] think they obviously wanted me back. So I don’t think it ever came to a point where I said, ‘That’s just not going to work.’ “
Love, a five-time All-Star, played his first six NBA seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to Cleveland in August 2014, which was when James returned to the team after spending four years with the Heat.
Love, 30, averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game on a Cavaliers team that was swept by the Warriors in the NBA Finals last season. He won an NBA title with Cleveland during the 2015-16 season.