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The ball is in Kevin Love’s court when it comes to whether he remains with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At least according to head coach Tyronn Lue, who told former NBA player Eddie Johnson during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio that Love has earned the right to move on should he desire it.
“Me and (general manager) Koby Altman talked about it,” Lue told Johnson when asked if he’s had the talk with Love in regards to his status and what the Cavs’ expectations of him will be. “He’s a big part of what we’re gonna do going forward.”
Then, Lue dropped The R Word — rebuild — something Cleveland fans are probably not keen on hearing.
“We gotta see if he wants to be here for us to rebuild, and to help the young guys out and mature the young guys,” Lue said of Love. “We’ve just got to see how he feels and what he wants to do. I think he’s earned that respect from us, from myself, from our organization, that if he wants to be in a better position then we gotta get him there.
“And he’s earned that right.”
Lue said from everything he has been hearing, the five-time All-Star big man would be open to remaining in Cleveland, where he won an NBA championship as part of a Big Three with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, both of whom are now former Cavaliers with James in Los Angeles and Irving in Boston, in 2016.
“From all I’ve been hearing from Koby, he wants to stay, he wants to be there,” Lue said. “So we’re happy to have Kevin. Every year he takes all the criticism. For me, he’s been great. He’s been 20 and 10 every year. Being a third guy, to get 20 and 10 that’s remarkable.”
Love has two years left on a five-year, $113 million contract signed July 9, 2015, the final year being a player option for $26 million. Love will earn $24 million next season.
With James and Irving both out of town, Love would be the Cavs’ No. 1 offensive option next season — should be remain in Cleveland. The former UCLA star is the Cavalier who would bring the most back in any trade.
“He’s carried a franchise before in Minnesota and now he’s gonna have the same opportunity here in Cleveland,” Lue said. “So I’m excited for Kevin, I think he’s excited, and we’ll go from there.”