— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 24, 2018
Uncle Drew left the family. The King abdicated his throne. But, Love came to town and decided to stick around.
When the Cavs originally assembled their core big three stars back in the summer of 2014, Kevin Love was the outsider, the third wheel, the supplemental All-Star who would have to sublimate his game to “fit in” with the others to allow them to shine. From almost day one, his name was bandied about as the most likely of the three to get traded for additional help. Ironic then that today Love proved how lasting he could be by committing long term to Cleveland…
The Cavaliers signed the PF/C this morning to a four-year, $120 million contract extension, giving him an overall remaining deal at five years, $145 million.
According to league sources and ESPN, the five-time All-Star opted out of the 2019-20 season on his current five-year deal, and the new extension will kick in after he earns $24.1 million next season. He will get his max salary in 2019-20 ($28.9 million) and 2020-21 ($31.3 million), it will be flat for the 2021-22 season ($31.3 million) and then decreases in 2022-23 ($28.8 million). ESPN also reported that Love wound up taking $8 million less than his full max as general manager Koby Altman worked with Love and his agent to maintain salary cap flexibility for the Cavs on the back end of the deal.
“I’m just very excited and obviously humbled,” Love said during a signing ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland (pictured in the headline Tweet). “I’d like to thank the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, [owner] Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for having their trust in me and believing in our future. When I got traded here a few years back, I was committed to being here long term and I was committed to our culture, excellence in playing the game of basketball. And I think who we have on our team and who we have moving forward really reflects that.”
Following the departure of LeBron James to the Lakers in free agency, Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman and the Cavs had said outwardly that they planned to try and keep the team competitive rather than tear it down to the studs. They reportedly were aggressive in their pursuit to secure Love for the long term and have the big man as the primary building block around which they can grow young talent such as Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman.
“We are very excited to announce Kevin’s long-term commitment to the Cavaliers and Cleveland,” Altman said in a statement. “This quickly became a partnership the second we began these discussions. Collaboration and winning matter greatly to Kevin and that was reflected in this extension. Kevin’s talent and character are both at a very high level and he has earned his role at the center of what we want to do moving forward.”
Despite the whole lotta bucks for Love, the Cavs should also still have an opportunity to add another star in the next two summers if they handle their other personnel and expiring deals well…
Even with the Kevin Love extension, Cleveland is still projecting to have close to $70M in cap space during the summer of 2020 to reshape the roster. Cap space for Cleveland next summer could be in the $25M range if George Hill, Kyle Korver and JR Smith… https://t.co/R1ZUdRwCtk
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 24, 2018
Regardless of the perceived dollar value of the contract (there are already wildly conflicting views on whether or not this deal makes sense based on the difference of opinion between the Cavs rebuilding or retooling for the future)… two things are clear:
Cleveland valued Kevin Love… and Kevin Love valued Cleveland.
Thank you for believing in us!!!! https://t.co/e3NbIPaT2I
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) July 24, 2018