Kevin Love introduced by Cavaliers

ByBrian Windhorst ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- When Kevin Love's phone rang shortly after he learned LeBron James was signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his own future became clear.

Love made it known to the Minnesota Timberwolves after his conversation with James last month that Cleveland was where he wanted to be traded. That allowed the Cavs to make a strong trade offer that included Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first-round pick, and soon a deal was struck.

"LeBron signed to come back, and a few hours later he called me and I said 'I'm in,'" Love said Tuesday at a news conference. "That had a lot to do with my decision. It means a lot to be a part of this organization. ... Everything in my entire life for the last six years had led me up to this opportunity."

Love expressed to the Wolves in June that he wanted to be traded or he would leave as a free agent next summer. That eventually forced the Wolves to make the deal with the Cavs that was finalized last week.

But Love said Tuesday he currently has no plans to sign an extension with the Cavs. Love signed a four-year, $61 million extension in 2012, but the 2016-17 season, worth $16.7 million, is a player option. Love is also not planning to pick up that option and will play out the final year of his contract with the Cavs.

Love did say he plans to be with the team long term.

"[An extension] hasn't been talked about," Love said. "I'm committed to this team and committed long term to the end goal, which is to win a championship."

It is a risk the Cavs were willing to take. They had been after Love aggressively for months and made it a major priority after James urged them to sweeten trade offers after he signed last month.

"This is culmination of a year and a half of conversations to trade for [Love]," Cavs general manager David Griffin said. "This is a player that, quite frankly, fits us as well as any player could have. LeBron makes a great deal of these things possible by his presence alone. That piece had a great deal to do with Kevin's comfort with joining us. Hopefully we'll [have] him for a very long time."

Love will wear No. 0 for the Cavs. His No. 42, which he wore with the Wolves and at UCLA, is Nate Thurmond's and retired in Cleveland. Love said he reached out to Thurmond, who cleared him to wear the number again, but Love decided to go with No. 0 as an honor to the first number he wore as a kid and because of his home state of Oregon.

"I thought this was a chance to start fresh," Love said, "to pick a new number that would suit me."

As for how he will mesh with his new coach David Blatt and how he would fit into the Cavs' new offensive and defensive systems, he left all that for later. But after not making the playoffs for the first six seasons of his career and never playing alongside an All-Star, Love said he is looking forward to the season.

"We know LeBron is the focal point," Love said. "But we have a lot of damn good players."

Related Video