Early in the summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Kevin Love to a four-year, $120 million extension that will kick in next summer, thus ensuring the power forward will be the face of the franchise for years to come. Love will be looked to as the leader of the team in 2018-19 and is apparently taking an early step in living up to that role.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports Love is hosting his Cavs teammates as they go through a series of workouts at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The Cavs and many other NBA teams will officially open training camp on Sept. 24. Love, however, is carrying on a tradition for the Cavs that former star LeBron James put in place the last few offseasons.
The three Cavs who are playing in World Cup qualifiers this week -- Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman, and Ante Zizic -- will not be there.
Otherwise, most or all of the team's players under guaranteed contract (there are 11 of them) are expected to attend. Rodney Hood and David Nwaba signed contracts with Cleveland over the past few days.
In social media posts, it appears that, at minimum, Love, rookie Collin Sexton, Channing Frye, and JR Smith are at The U. Coach Tyronn Lue told cleveland.com he is in Miami. His staff is likely there, too.
James, who's now with the Lakers, held players-only workouts before training camp during his four seasons here. Coaches and front office members usually traveled to the vacation-esque locales for the practices, and Cavs player development staff usually engages, but the coaches themselves sit out.
The workouts have become commonplace in the NBA. They're used for team bonding more than anything -- most if not all of the Cavs worked out all summer.
Two league sources previously told cleveland.com there would not be players' only workouts ahead of camp. It was not immediately clear when Love -- who appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on Monday, decided to host the event.
Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Cavs last season and was an All-Star for the second straight season as well. He missed that game, however, because of a broken bone in his hand.
He has been mentioned in trade speculation since arriving in Cleveland, but the 6-foot-10 big man with a guard's shooting range now becomes the centerpiece of the franchise. The Cavs originally acquired Love in 2014 in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Aug. 23, 2014 for Andrew Wiggins -- whom Cleveland took with the No. 1 overall Draft pick that year.
Love appeared in 59 games for Cleveland last season, shooting .415 from beyond the arc and a career-high .880 from the foul line. Love was one of just four NBA players -- Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic and DeMarcus Cousins were the others -- to make at least 100 3-pointers while averaging at least nine rebounds in 2017-18.
Over the last four seasons, Love has played in 271 games and averaged a double-double (17.1 ppg, 10 rpg) during that span. Since the 2014-15 season, he leads the team in total rebounds (2,705), double-doubles (145) and 3-pointers (584). In Cavaliers history, Love already ranks fourth in 3-pointers made, 10th in defensive rebounds (2,165) and 12th in total rebounds. He has also helped the Cavs reach the postseason in all four years, including their run to the NBA title in 2016.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.