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Forward Kevin Love was “very excited and obviously humbled” after signing a long-term extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Love, a five-time All-Star, opted out of the 2019-20 season on his current five-year deal, league sources said, and the new extension will kick in after he earns $24.1 million next season. He will get his max salary in 2019-20 ($28.9 million) and 2020-21 ($31.3 million), it will be flat for the 2021-22 season ($31.3 million) and then decreases in 2022-23 ($28.8 million).
He took $8 million less than his full max as general manager Koby Altman worked with Love and agent Jeff Schwartz to keep some salary cap flexibility for the Cavaliers on the back end of the deal, when his maximum annual salary could’ve been in the $35 million range, league sources said.
“I’d like to thank the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, [owner] Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for having their trust in me and believing in our future,” Love said during a signing ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. “When I got traded here a few years back, I was committed to being here long term and I was committed to our culture, excellence in playing the game of basketball. And I think who we have on our team and who we have moving forward really reflects that.”
In the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure in free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers,When LeBron James agreed four-year, $153.3 million deal with Lakers and why the Cavaliers aggressively pushed to secure Love, 29, for the long term. Gilbert and Altman have been determined to keep the Cavaliers in the playoff mix, and that plan included keeping Love out of free agency in 2019.
“We are very excited to announce Kevin’s long-term commitment to the Cavaliers and Cleveland,” Altman said in a statement. “This quickly became a partnership the second we began these discussions. Collaboration and winning matter greatly to Kevin and that was reflected in this extension.
“Kevin’s talent and character are both at a very high level and he has earned his role at the center of what we want to do moving forward.”
The Cavaliers acquired Love as part of a three-team trade prior to the 2014 season, and he’s made the Eastern Conference All-Star team in each of the past two seasons. Love has averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds in his 10-year career, including 15 points and 9.7 rebounds in four trips to the playoffs with the Cavaliers.
Love shot 41.5 percent on 3-pointers last season, the second-highest percentage of his career, as the Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals. He played just 59 games, his fewest since the 2012-13 season.