Love, 32, is still owed $60 million over two years, but his play clearly declined last season, when he averaged career-lows in points and rebounding. He also withdrew from the U.S. men’s basketball roster this summer because of poor play and a lingering calf issue.
Cleveland has been unsuccessful in its attempts to move Love, leaving the organization little choice but to keep him — perhaps as the NBA’s most expensive reserve.
The Cavs selected center/forward Evan Mobley with the No. 3 overall draft pick, and intend to pair him next to center Jarrett Allen. When you factor in the minutes for Larry Nance Jr., who plays everywhere from center to small forward, Love could quickly turn into The Forgotten Man.
“The Cavs have already spoken to him about minutes and his role moving forward, according to a source,” Lloyd wrote. “If he can ever get over this calf strain and get in true game shape again, the coaching and training staffs will have to closely manage his minutes (ideally under 25 a night) to try and keep him effective.”
Love averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists, shooting just 41 percent from the field. A calf strain limited him to just 25 games.
While teams such as the Warriors, Pelicans and others expressed minimal interest after the season, an opposing general manager recently told Hoops Wire that there is currently “no market” for Love.
His poor showing at Team USA camp only hindered the possibility of a trade.
“I didn’t think Kevin Love was going to play,” Team USA director Jerry Colangelo said. “I wasn’t even sure he had much left to play. He reached out to us and said he was in shape and said he felt he owed us. And on the basis of that, we’re looking at someone with international experience which at one time was a heck of a rebounder and could still shoot the ball.
“You know, being like a 12th man on a roster. Well, it didn’t work out. He wasn’t in shape. And he was way behind as it turned out. So you move on. Call it a mistake. Call it giving someone an opportunity. Someone who had equity with us.”