Kevin Love stated that not only will he be ready to play in next season’s opener, but he’ll take the court in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.
Speaking to the media for the first time since undergoing season-ending surgery for his dislocated shoulder, Love made clear his intentions for the future.
“I truly haven’t even thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year,” Love said on Sunday.
When asked by a reporter if it would be with the Cavaliers, Love responded: “Yes sir.”
The 26-year-old power forward has a player option to remain in Cleveland for 2015-16, but can also opt out and become one of the premier free agents this offseason.
Even if he opts out, Love could sign a five-year, max contract with the Cavaliers rather than be limited to a four-year deal with any other team in the open market.
Love has until June 30 to choose whether or not to exercise his player option.
His first season in Cleveland ended on a disappointing note when he suffered the shoulder injury against Boston in the first round of the playoffs to end his campaign.
Let’s keep asking Kevin Love whether he expects to be back with the Cavaliers every single day.
— RUSS BENGT$ON (@russbengtson) June 1, 2015
He was tangled with the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk when the injury occurred and afterwards, Love called the play “bush league” and questioned Olynyk’s intent.
Love said the two have since communicated and moved on.
“About a week went by, I reached out to Kelly, sent him a text and said, ‘It’s all good,’” he revealed.
Led by LeBron James, the Cavaliers have still managed to reach the NBA Finals with Love on the sidelines rather than in the line-up.
“Obviously I rather be out there playing and from a human being aspect it is very tough,” Love said.
“But as far as being here supporting the guys and now being able to travel, it’s a lot of fun. I still feel like I’m a big part of this.
“I’m super happy for these guys, proud of these guys. There were times where I felt down because of my shoulder and they’ve been here to pick me up and it’s kind of how it’s been the whole year.”