BOSTON — When the clock struck midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, the Kevin Love trade restriction was officially lifted.
Six months after signing his massive four-year, $120 million contract extension, the Cleveland Cavaliers can legally deal their injured power forward if they so choose.
According to sources, the Cavs’ stance on keeping Love hasn’t changed. They want him in Cleveland. They value what he can bring on the court when healthy and his leadership and set-the-tone work ethic behind the scenes has been very important. He wants to stay with the team as well.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve said all along I’ve wanted to be here. I’ve said this too, it’s a business,” Love said recently. “We saw that last year at the deadline. Think every trade deadline, draft, free agency, always brings something new. It’s always different. I would love to be here. Would just love to get through a whole season healthy just because I’ve had nagging things that have taken time and been a little bit unlucky, but I would like to play ball here.”
When the two sides agreed to terms and Love inked his deal on July 24, it wasn’t with the intention of sending him elsewhere if things went haywire, just as they have in the first few months. He was to be the pillar during this difficult rebuild.
With the trade deadline approaching on Feb. 7, the Cavs have gotten calls about Love and others. They will likely pick up now that he can be moved. But even if the Cavs were willing to trade their lone All-Star, it would be pretty complicated given Love hasn’t played since Oct. 24 and isn’t yet ready to return.
There’s even a chance Love doesn’t make it back before the deadline. He continues to make steady progress in his recovery from foot surgery, but still has some other steps along the way.
Love is set to make $24.1 million this season and then his contract goes up incrementally before decreasing in the final year.