INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Kevin Love’s phone rang in July and LeBron James asked the All-Star forward if he wanted to play with him in Cleveland.
“I’m in,” Love said.
For the long haul.
Getting used to a new city and new team after being acquired by the Cavaliers on Saturday, Love said he’s committed to winning an NBA title with the Cavaliers — however long it takes.
Love can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer, but the 25-year-old said he intends to stay with James and the Cavs.
“I’m committed to this team, committed long term to the end goal and that’s to win championships,” he said.
Love was introduced Tuesday by the Cavs, who acquired him in a blockbuster, three-team trade that instantly turned Cleveland into an NBA championship favorite. The deal also gives the team a star-powered trio in Love, James and Kyrie Irving.
Love never made the playoffs during his six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will now rebuild with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and last year’s top pick, Anthony Bennett, two young players they were able to pry from Cleveland.
The Cavs know nothing is certain, and there’s risk in bringing aboard Love. But with James, Love, Irving, guard Dion Waiters, relentless rebounder Anderson Varejao and newly signed veterans Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones, the Cavs have the makings of a championship team — this season and for many more to come.
“This is culmination of a year and a half of conversations to trade for Kevin,” general manager David Griffin said. “This is a player that, quite frankly, fits us as well as any player could have.”
Love will wear No. 0 for the Cavs. His No. 42, the number he wore in college and with the Timerbwolves, was worn by Nate Thurmond and retired in Cleveland. He considered No. 11, his Olympic number, but that was worn by Zydrunas Ilgauskas and also hangs from the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena. So he went with 0, the number he first wore as a kid in Beaverton, Oregon.
“I thought this was a chance to start fresh,” Love said, “and pick a new number that would suit me. I just decided that 0 was the right fit for me.”