Aug 26, 2014, 4:55 PM EDT
Repeatedly during the 2012 Olympics, LeBron sat near Love and praised the then-Timberwolves forward. Love didn’t know whether to take the compliments at face value or… Really, he didn’t know what to do.
So, Love brushed it off.
At the All-Star Game the next season, which Love missed due to injury, the pair spoke again in greater depth. Finally, Love was convinced – LeBron appreciated his game, and a real bond formed.
“It just goes to show you that things come full circle,” Love said today at his introductory press conference with the Cavaliers.
LeBron couldn’t have known in 2012 he’d ever have the chance to play with Love two years later, but the players developed a mutual respect for each other in London. By this summer, Love was unhappy in Minnesota, and LeBron was a free agent. By signing in Cleveland, LeBron set into motion Love joining him.
“I was the first call that he made after he signed,” Love said, “and I’m very happy about that.”
“LeBron had signed to come back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Just a few hours post, he called me, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m in.’ That had a lot do with my decision.”
It’s a little funny – if you don’t understand how much power NBA superstars wield – to hear Love call this arrangement “his decision.” After all, Love is under contract for next season and technically had no control where the Timberwolves trade him. His main realistic influence was the ability to opt in as a condition of a deal, but it doesn’t seem that happened here.
However, there was a report Love promised to opt out and re-sign for five years next summer. Given that such a scheme would violate NBA rules, Love – sitting next to Cavaliers general manager David Griffin – of course gave no details when asked how long he’d stay in Cleveland.
“That is something that hasn’t been talked about, but like I told Griff in our meetings and Dan Gilbert as well and the powers that be in the front office and all the way down that I’m committed to this team,” Love said. “Committed long term to that end goal, and that’s to win championships and to win a championship here in Ohio.”
Winning a championship is something the Cavaliers have never done and something any major pro team in Cleveland hasn’t done since 1964.
Love, a student of the game, is mindful of that history. It showed when he discussed his change to No. 0.
His number in Minnesota, 42, has been retired by the Cavaliers for Nate Thurmond. Love praised Thurmond and appreciated his willingness to let Love wear the number, but ultimately, Love wanted a fresh start.
His Olympic number, 11, was also retired – for Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Love’s third choice – 7, which his mom considered lucky for him – was retired for Bingo Smith.
That left one other option.
Love told a story of joining a new team growing up in Oregon, and he was the last to arrive for a tournament. Nearly every jersey had been taken.
“There was the 0 for me,” said Love, likely the last major domino to fall this offseason.
“It really brings me back to Portland, which is Oregon, the O,” Love said. “And then as Griff told me later in a text too, when I told him what number I was going to choose, he also said can’t forget Ohio, too. And he’s right.”
Full circle indeed.
Jul 3, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
A big reason Jordan left L.A. to sign with the Mavericks.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT
Beverley’s defense provides a perfect complement to James Harden.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:34 PM EDT
Rondo is not exactly going to space the floor for Cousins.
Jul 3, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT
They would make solid backups at a fair price.
Jul 3, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT
He is a good fit in the Rockets’ up-tempo system.
Jul 3, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
She’s a San Antonio assistant coach
Jul 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT
Key for the Wizards is this is a one-year deal, so they save their cap space for a Kevin Durant offer next summer.
Jul 3, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
This is a huge blow to the Clippers roster.
Jul 3, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT
This was expected, now the Knicks move forward with Robin Lopez.
Jul 3, 2015, 2:52 PM EDT
Solid deal in a vacuum, but in Sacramento…
Report: Knicks to sign Robin Lopez to four-year, $54 million contract (unless DeAndre Jordan changes his mind)
Jul 3, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT
More evidence Jordan won’t pick Knicks
Jul 3, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT
Washington could land David West
Jul 3, 2015, 12:07 PM EDT
Third year is reportedly a team option
Jul 3, 2015, 11:08 AM EDT
I doubt Sacramento is celebrating quite yet
Jul 3, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT
Brooklyn making most of a self-inflicted bad situation
Jul 3, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT
If LaMarcus Aldridge signs elsewhere, San Antonio makes a lot of sense
Jul 3, 2015, 9:14 AM EDT
So Knicks are probably getting Robin Lopez
Jul 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
In this market even if these deals are misses, they are correctable ones.
Jul 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
I don’t think the Lakers are all that serious here.
Jul 3, 2015, 2:19 AM EDT
Sacramento had made a big push but again missed out on their target.
- Report: Rajon Rondo agrees to one-year, $9.5 million deal with Sacramento Kings 25
- Report: DeAndre Jordan agrees to four-year, $80 million deal to join Dallas Mavericks 44
- Report: Kings signing Marco Belinelli to three-year, $19 million contract 15
- Report: Knicks to sign Robin Lopez to four-year, $54 million contract (unless DeAndre Jordan changes his mind) 8
- PBT Extra: Free agent signings we didn’t love 6
- Report: Wes Matthews reaches agreement to join Dallas Mavericks 23
- PBT Extra: Five best free agent signings in the first days of free agency 11
- Dwyane Wade agrees to one-year, $20 million deal to stay with Heat 55