Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love withdrew his name from Team USA’s roster before the Tokyo Olympics citing his recovery from another injury. While the 2021-’22 NBA season is months away, it left many pondering the All-Star forward’s future.
Injuries have become a recurring problem for Love in recent years. He played in only 22 games during the 2018-’19 season, fought through problems the following year and dealt with knee and calf injuries this past season. Playing on one of the worst contracts in the NBA, there’s been an evident decline for the five-time All-Star.
Long the subject of NBA trade rumors, a lack of availability has been a major deterrent in the Cavaliers’ efforts to move the veteran forward. While some fans might have been hoping for his retirement, it’s evident that announcement isn’t coming.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, Love hasn’t even considered stepping away from the NBA. In fact, he is becoming more enthusiastic about next season.
- Kevin Love stats (2020-’21 season): 12.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 15.10 PER
Excitement for the 2021-’22 season played a role in Love’s decision to forego an opportunity at a gold medal. Love wants to be fully healthy for training camp this fall, regardless of the team he is playing for, so he can return closer to the form that made him one of the best players in the NBA.
Cleveland will again make an effort to trade its starting forward this summer, but it’s going to be a challenge. He is owed $31.258 million next season and there is still another year left on his deal. Ultimately, we might not see a Kevin Love trade until his $28.94 million expiring salary becomes a trade chip during the 2022-’23 season.