Kevin Love delivered a classic performance in an overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Monday night, finishing with a season-high 33 points to go with his 13 rebounds in a 139-134 loss. As the Feb. 6 trade deadline approaches, Love’s name has been mentioned at times but he told reporters after last night’s game he expects to stay with the Cavs going forward.
The game against the Knicks was the Cavs’ last home game before the trade deadline as their next game is Feb. 5 in Oklahoma City (8 ET, League Pass). When asked Monday if he thought this was his final home game with Cleveland, Love said he didn’t think so.
“Naw, it’s funny, I didn’t even consider that, oddly, not until this very moment,” Love said. “It could be the same thing for a few guys here. Tristan (Thompson) didn’t play tonight, I just don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll let the chips fall, I’ve been saying that. But I expect to probably finish the season out here and continue to play extremely hard.”
Thompson has been made available in trades, too, and was sidelined against the Knicks with a sore right quad. He worked out on the court before the game and the team announced he was out 45 minutes prior to tip-off. Coach John Beilein said Thompson got treatment after the shoot-around, but the leg was still bothering him before the game.
Per Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, a trade of Love was “not imminent” despite the big man having a career-best season (11.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg). As for Love, he said after the game that he has not had detailed conversations with the team about his future. The team, per Love, has also not given him assurances he will remain there either.
“Early on, that good advice was just chasing the game and let everything else fall back into place, everything else good in life will chase you right back,” Love said. “Haven’t heard anything, don’t know what to expect, but not pushing anything either way, just continue to be me, I guess.”
Despite all that, Love has remained productive and over his last 15 games is averaging 20.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 3.2 apg. Per Cleveland.com, the Cavs are reportedly convinced that trading Love will fetch a bigger return in the offseason than at the deadline. The Cavs, per Cleveland.com, will also not do a salary dump nor is it interested in attaching a pick in potential Love trades.
Love apologized in early January for a string of incidents in which he was frustrated with the team and had outbursts. He was upset on the bench in a Dec. 31 loss to the Raptors and got into a verbal exchange with Cavs GM Koby Altman over being fined for those actions. On Jan. 4 in a loss to the Thunder, Love threw his arms up in disgust several times on the floor, fired a hard pass in anger and had his back turned on defense as one of the Thunder’s players streaked past him for a basket.
But for Love, he says he has nothing but positive memories about his time in Cleveland — however long that time may last.
“Whether it’s five years when my time is done here, I’ll reflect on how amazing it is and was,” Love said. “I’ve just known so many great people here and had so many great moments. The way they were showing it on the screen tonight, the good old days. I don’t know, I guess I’m at a loss for words, but I didn’t even really think about it like it was.”