Kevin Love isn’t going anywhere, despite his reduced role with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With Love falling out of the rotation and not being moved at the deadline, there have been whispers about the veteran big man and the Cavs looking at a buyout.
However, that’s not the plan in Cleveland.
“I have not been approached by them at all and I don’t anticipate it either,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said on February 9. “Not one time since I’ve been here have they approached me about that. I think we’re asking Kevin to make another sacrifice this year to do what he’s doing right now, which is be a great teammate, stay positive every day, stay ready and work on your body, work on your shot, work on everything to be ready for when that opportunity comes next.”
Love has not played in five consecutive games despite being healthy, with the team opting instead to get Dean Wade minutes after a seven-week absence due to injury. It’s been a gradual process for Love, who won a title alongside LeBron James in Cleveland in 2016. He’s averaging career lows in minutes (20.0) points (8.5) and rebounds (6.8).
“It’s not easy for Kevin,” Altman said. “I’ve had a conversation with him, and he wants to play. I think he’ll have an opportunity to play again this year, but where we’re at now, I think J.B.’s really comfortable with the rotation that we have.”
There’s good reason to keep Love around, even if he’s not the force he once was on the court. He’s a leader in the locker room and has playoff experience — something lacking on the roster right now. If Love has his number called in a big game, he’ll understand the situation.
Cavs Choose to Stand Pat at Trade Deadline
The Cavs are firmly in the mix in the Eastern Conference, which saw many teams make impactful moves — most notably the Brooklyn Nets, moving on from both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving via trade.
While the Cavaliers “aggressively pursued” trades — per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com — nothing manifested that the team felt would make them better.
“We just didn’t feel like anything was going to really move the needle for us,” Altman said. “We could have made a move that was lateral, multiple moves that were lateral that I didn’t think appreciably made us better.”
Fedor reported that the discussed trades involved Love, Caris LeVert, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler and second-round picks.
Cavs Looking to Surge Into All-Star Break
After slogging through January, the Cavaliers have hit their stride ahead of the All-Star break. The Cavs have reeled off four straight victories and will look for a fifth on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I feel like everyone is just clicking right now,” Cavs forward Evan Mobley said. “Everyone is in attack mode.”
It’s a stark contrast to what was going on in late January after a loss to the Heat, prompting coach JB Bickerstaff to call out the “negativity” surrounding the team.
“I think in all the noise and chatter, people forget how much this group has accomplished,” Bickerstaff said. “We’re the number one ranked defense in the NBA still. Prior to last night, we were the 10th ranked offense in the NBA [and] this morning we’re 11th now. I think we’ve got the second-best net rating in the NBA.”
As of February 10, the Cavaliers are five games back of the first-place Boston Celtics.