It seems that some National Media members have been questioning Love’s commitment to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest “catch,” according to most of the pundits, is LeBron’s “1 year contract.” LeBron is not leaving, he’s said as much. Love, like LeBron, is here for the long haul as well.
Why would Love stay if LeBron is going to leave in a year?
LeBron James isn’t leaving anytime within the foreseeable future. It just isn’t happening. He’s 100% committed to bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio. In his SI.com Letter, LeBron said “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.” LeBron is single handedly bringing together a title contender in Cleveland. He wouldn’t be doing all of this work if he intended to walk away in one year. He is the reason Love is here and he’ll be the reason that Love stays. Like Love, LeBron’s contract situation is all about business.
If Dwight Howard left, why won’t Love?
Kevin Love is not Dwight Howard and this Cleveland Cavaliers team is not the same as that Lakers team. Dwight is, by many accounts, a prima donna. Love, on the other hand, does not have that reputation; Love handled his departure from Minnesota much better than Dwight handled his departure from Orlando. In regards to the teams: Dwight was on a basketball team with an aging roster that included players past their primes like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, whom could never get healthy, and Pau Gasol, who faced a number of problems that year. The roster was old, unhealthy, and never had a chance to mesh. This Cavs roster, on the other hand, centers around the best basketball player in the world, LeBron James, a young star Point Guard who hasn’t yet reached his prime in Kyrie Irving, and complimentary pieces that include some young athletic talents along with some experienced veterans who know how to win. Love isn’t in the same position Dwight was in, and, as a result, he won’t follow in his footsteps either.
Why won’t Love opt in?
That seems to be a question on some fan’s minds. Well, you see, Love is no dummy; nor is his agent, Jeff Schwartz, whom is highly regarded around the league. If Love opts in, he will be leaving money on the table. Love’s option for next season is 16.7 million. If he plays out the year and re-signs with Cleveland after the fact, he could sign a 4 year deal worth $76 million, or, if he so chooses, a 5 year deal worth $107 million, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Why won’t Love sign an extension now?
For Love, an extension now would mean just what it sounds like: an extension of his current contract, which, again, would mean less money. It would mean that he has to pick up his option and sign an extension that would be for just two more years and around $37 million. This, once again, would cost Love money long term. Him choosing to not sign an in-season extension, just like him not opting in for his final year, is what is financially best for him in the long run.
Doesn’t Love want to head West?
This is an interesting proposition. Love is, as we all know, from the West Coast. Born in California, grew up near Portland, Oregon, and played his college ball at UCLA. He certainly has strong ties to the West Coast. And, as we have seen with LeBron, some players do, in fact, want to go home. And, to some degree, that’s completely understandable. But let’s say that the West Coast is Love’s “dream” destination. He’d be returning to an incredibly deep and difficult Western Conference, a conference that, oh, by the way, he just left. Oh, and let’s not forget that, that LeBron fellow isn’t out there, is he? No. He is home, in Cleveland, in a place that – regardless of what some writers are saying – he is not leaving. No team out West can offer him what Cleveland can offer him: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. From a basketball standpoint, leaving Cleveland to head out West just makes little-to-no-sense for Love.
Ah, yes. The ever-so-popular, “it’s Cleveland” vernacular. It’s pretty obvious that things are different in Cleveland this time around. It’s pretty well documented that LeBron’s first go around didn’t go so well; despite all of his efforts, he could not get another superstar to join him in Cleveland, which, ultimately, lead to his departure. This time around, he’s recruiting everyone, and everyone wants to come. LeBron was able to sell the city, the team, and championships to Mike Miller, James Jones, Shawn Marion, and, last (maybe I shouldn’t say last) but not least, Kevin Love. LeBron is a proven winner now. He’s no longer the 25 year old kid that people were constantly attacking for his lack of titles. LeBron, as we know him today, is a champion. And a champion is something Kevin Love wants desperately to be.
Will Love be able to handle not being “The Guy?”
Okay, that’s enough now, Glenn Taylor. In all seriousness, LeBron, Love, and Irving are all great. There is no doubting that they’ll have to make some sacrifices in order to co-exist and mesh together, though. But there has been no indication by any of them that they won’t be able to do so, so why should we question it? Boston’s “Big 3″ was able to make it work. Miami’s unit had some struggles early on, but, after time, they were able to make it to four straight finals and win two championships. Until there is reason to worry that they can’t co-exist, it’s probably best that fans relax and enjoy the process.
As you can see, Love has no reason to opt in or sign an extension now. Doing so would cost him money. Money that no one in his position would willingly give up. But just because there is no written agreement that Love is here for the longterm doesn’t mean he isn’t committed. At Love’s introductory presser, when asked by AP’s Tom Withers how long he planned on staying, Love responded with “It hasn’t been talked about, but . . . I’m committed to this team, committed longterm.”