Whether they do or do not have LeBron James for 2018-19, the Cleveland Cavaliers plan to show some love to their second leading scorer, Kevin Love.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the All-Star forward is not expected to be moved no matter what James decides to do with his future. James has until June 29 to decide whether or not he will opt out of his contract and enter free agency.
The Cavaliers are not actively shopping All-Star forward Kevin Love heading into Thursday’s NBA draft, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday. Furthermore, regardless of what decision LeBron James makes about his future in Cleveland, the Cavs have interest in keeping Love next season, sources said.
Heading into the playoffs, Love — who was offered to the Indiana Pacers in a trade for Paul George last June — acknowledged that it could be his last go-round with the team that traded its No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggins, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for him in 2014, ushering in the most successful era in Cavs history.
Cleveland, owner of the No. 8 pick in the draft, will make the selection without knowing James’ intention for next season, multiple sources told ESPN. James is currently on vacation with his family, sources said.
The Cavs are entering into the draft with the intention of making a selection that they will keep on their team next season. There is interest in finding a young playmaker to add to their veteran core, and Cleveland believes it will have the opportunity to choose from an available player pool that will include Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr., Kevin Knox, Mikal Bridges and others.
Cleveland has inquired about the availability of San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, but the franchise does not believe it has the realistic assets to convince the Spurs to deal them the former NBA Finals MVP, considering what other teams on the market can offer.
Love has two years left on his deal, with the second as a player option. He averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 59 games during the 2017-18 season, but saw his production drop in the postseason to 14.9 ppg and 10.2 rpg.
He suffered a concussion in the Eastern Conference finals and missed Game 7 of that series, which the Cavs won. He missed seven weeks with a broken hand and revealed he has had bouts of panic attacks.
Love has suffered at least two other known concussions in his career — one that kept him out of Game 3 in the 2016 NBA Finals. He also missed a game at Charlotte on March 28 with a head injury.
Love missed the majority of Cleveland’s 2015 run to the Finals after separating his shoulder in the first round against Boston.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.