Kevin Love, who opted out of a deal with the Cavaliers in June, bypassing a $16.7 million salary for next season, announced Wednesday he would return to Cleveland.
“I’m going back to Cleveland,” Love wrote for The Players Tribune in a post released at 2:30 ET on Wednesday.
“After Game 1 of the NBA Finals, that’s when it really struck me. Sitting on the sidelines, I never wanted to play in a game more than that one. I had dreamed of playing in the NBA Finals and I just wanted to help my guys win. I couldn’t have been prouder of them as they poured their blood, sweat and tears onto the court.
“Yeah, of course I’ve heard the free agency rumors. But at the end of the day, and after meeting with my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We’re all on the same page and we’re all in. We have unfinished business and now it’s time to get back to work.”
ESPN and NBA.com reported Love would visit the Los Angeles Lakers this week, but that will not occur.
The Cavaliers said they were not surprised by Love’s decision to opt out and hoped to re-sign the All-Star.
Love was playing in his first-ever playoff series when he dislocated his shoulder in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics on April 26. Boston forward Kelly Olynyk pulled down on Love’s left arm and yanked it out of the socket, forcing season-ending surgery.
Love played at UCLA and trains in Los Angeles. The Lakers and Celtics were among the teams expected to make a run at Love in free agency.
Love recently said that watching the Cavs face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals reiterated his desire to win a championship with LeBron James in Cleveland.
Love was asked on June 5 if he wanted to return to the Cavaliers next season.
“Yes. I want to win,” he said.