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As usual, the rumor mill has Kevin Love heading pretty much everywhere in the NBA and the season ended only two days ago.
However, the five-time All-Star forward has made it clear where he wants to play going forward.
“People have been saying that for the past four years,” Love said of the rampant trade rumors. “I knew that question would come, but I like to be here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here.”
Love came to Cleveland the same time LeBron James came home, in the summer of 2014. The Cavaliers traded No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins and another former No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett, to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Love.
He, James, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith have been to four consecutive NBA Finals together, winning the championship in an unforgettable Game 7 in Oracle Arena in 2016.
Love expressed he wants to remain with James, who called him and encouraged him to join him in Cleveland when he came home in July 2014.
“Obviously, I’d love to play with LeBron the rest of my career,” Love said. “But that will be a choice that he makes.”
Love was referencing James’ future with the Cavaliers. He must notify the team by June 29 if he will pick up or decline his $35.6 million player option. If he declines it, as expected, he will become an unrestricted free agent for the third time in his career.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported if James decides to depart Cleveland for a second time, the Cavaliers would look to deal Love.
“They fully make Kevin Love available,” Windhorst said. “I bet they would look for a first-round pick in that trade. He’s on the last year of a deal, so they don’t want to take on money.”
Love, 29, is owed $24 million next season and has a player option for 2019-20 worth about $25.5 million.
He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds during the regular season