Kevin Love plans to be back with the Cavs next season and says he will play opening night.
The injured forward spoke to reporters for the first time since his season ending injury and said he is “happy with how things are progressing” in his rehab.
“I truly haven’t even thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year,” Love said Sunday in his time speaking to reporters. One of the reporters asked him the question everybody has wanted to hear for a lot of time, which was if he would be back with the team next season, he quickly replied, “Yes, sir.”
Stay Or Opt Out
The All-Star forward has one year left in his contract but has the chance to opt out by June 30. He could either take a big contract with the team or test the market. The power forward injured his shoulder in Game 4 of the first round against the Boston Celtics when Kelly Olynyk pulled down on his left arm and yanked it out of the socket. The Celtics big man received a one game suspension, which he will serve next season.
Love was not happy about the incident with Olynyk and called it a “bush-league play” after the game. He now sees it differently. I initially was very emotional about the play,” Love said. “I think everybody thinks, ‘Oh, he’s going to be able to come back, pop it right in,’ but at the time when it happened, I kind of knew. And about a week went by, reached out to Kelly, sent him a text and said, ‘Hey, it’s all good. It was a tough play.’ And we just move on from there.”
Cavs Record Without Love, Finals and Staying In Touch
The Cavaliers have not struggled with him out. They have an 8-2 record since his injury, with series wins against the Chicago Bulls and a sweep on the top seeded Atlanta Hawks. This is the first time since 2007 that the Cleveland Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals. He was recently cleared to travel with the team and will be watching his teammates for Games 1 and 2 in Golden State.
“Obviously I’d rather be out there playing, and that is, as a human being, from a human being aspect, is very tough,” Love said. “But as far as being here and supporting the guys and now being able to travel, it’s a lot of fun, and I still feel like I’m a big part of this.”
Love has missed a lot of time with his team because of the shoulder rehab but he contacts them through FaceTime. “What’s great about technology these days is, when you have that, you can keep in touch with family and teammates from afar,” Love said. “But also we have the group texts that are kind of us all roasting each other, which is pretty fun.”
The forward revealed that he has lost 15 pounds since the surgery and uses the treadmill, exercise bike and elliptical machine to stay in shape. He is five weeks into his training and everything has gone well. Well, he almost ruined it all celebrating the sweep over the Atlanta Hawks. “It was great,” Love said. “But I’ll tell you why it was bad because the first moment I walk out there — the teammate will remain nameless — I go up and give him a big hug and say, ‘Congratulations!’ And he takes his arm and goes, ‘Oh yeah, man,’ and just hits me right on the shoulder. Some of the front-office staff that was out there with me kind of had to grab me and say, ‘Are you OK?’
“I had one of those moments where I was like, ‘I might have to go back to the locker room. How’s that going to look? I’ll have to sit down.’ I just tried to take deep breaths, calm myself and got home and iced as quickly as I could.”
Love finished it off by saying that he will continue to work hard so he can suit up with the Cavs in opening night of next season.