A tough three years for five-time All Star Kevin Love was punctuated by an even more difficult 2020-21.
After earning his last All-Star selection and playoff appearance during the 2017-18 season, Love and his Cleveland Cavaliers have severely regressed since the team’s LeBron James-led golden years. With his stats slowly falling and multiple injuries hampering his ability to lead the team, Love has been clearly frustrated with his squad’s three consecutive losing records.
That’s why this offseason was so important for Love.
Looking to get back on track after missing 116 of a possible 219 games since signing his four-year, $120.4 million contract in 2019, the Cavs forward hoped to work through the kinks with Team USA at this year’s Olympic Games.
Unfortunately, the injury bug struck yet again. Encountering complications with the same right calf injury that forced him to miss time this past season, Love was forced to withdraw from the roster earlier this week.
Now without the buffer of Team USA basketball to fall back on, Love is now tasked with facing his future with the Cavaliers.
Heading into his eighth season with Cleveland and 14th in the NBA, the 32 year old may have a new role with the team moving forward. In a recent interview, he acknowledged that his body isn’t what it used to be.
After #Cavs Kevin Love withdrew from Team USA, he and Cavs are left with countless questions, including this: Is the pain in his calf truly preventing him from feeling like himself or is it an explanation for the harsh reality he now faces?https://t.co/sW66NKbm7t
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) July 17, 2021
The time of Love as the No. 1 guy in Cleveland seems to have come to an end.
“I think I understand that probably being that number one guy, playing 35 minutes and getting 20 touches a game, is probably in my rear view,” Love said, per Cleveland.com. “I don’t try to put a ceiling or limit on myself at all. So long as I’m feeling good, I know that I’m going to play good. I’m going to chase the game like I always have. But I do believe that if it’s asked for me to have to pivot in my career for a team to win, I’m more than I’m willing to do that.”
Through just 25 games this year, Love put up some of his worst statistics in quite some time. His 12.2 points per game were his lowest average since his rookie season with Minnesota in 2008-09 (11.1 ppg) and his 7.4 rebounds and 24.9 minutes per game were the lowest marks of his career.
Kevin Love is scheduled to make more than $60 million over the next two seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
The Cavs will have a plenty to think about this offseason as they approach how to utilize their former All Star moving forward.
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