Cavs' Koby Altman on Kevin Love: 'We Want Him to be Here'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 29, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 12: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives the ball against the Boston Celtics during their game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on May 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Cavaliers won 102-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said Saturday that the Cavs want veteran big man Kevin Love on the team next season and beyond.

According to the Associated Press (h/t NBC Sports), Altman said: "We want him to be here. We signed him to an extension for that reason, to be here when we want to make that next step. And so we're going to hopefully rely on him heavily next year after a significant summer."

Cleveland signed Love to a four-year, $120 million extension in 2019, meaning he will be under contract through the 2022-23 season.

While the Cavaliers are a rebuilding team primarily focused on young players, Love could be a valuable piece moving forward since he is one of the only remaining holdovers from Cleveland's NBA championship win in 2016.

The 2020-21 season was a rough one for the Cavs, as they went just 22-50 and still don't appear particularly close to contending for a playoff spot.

There were plenty of lowlights throughout the campaign, but none stand out more than an incident during a game against the Toronto Raptors in April.

Out of frustration with the officiating, Love slapped the ball into play on an inbound, which allowed the Raptors to gain possession and make a three-pointer:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

What is Kevin Love doing 😅 pic.twitter.com/WpZP4UZJHL

It was a bad look for a player who is still on the team specifically for his championship experience and leadership as a veteran.

Love later apologized for the incident, and Altman said he was "internally reprimanded" for the unprofessional play.

Altman suggested Saturday that the play was merely a lapse in judgment and not indicative of who Love really is as a person and player:

"What people don’t see is his vulnerability with the players and his teammates. I don't think people see his generosity. If he was an all-out bad guy and those plays that you talk about represented him, his teammates wouldn’t love him, his teammates wouldn't want to be around him."

Altman also noted that young big man Jarrett Allen has told him how much he enjoys being around Love, which is significant given Allen's status as a core piece moving forward.

The Cavs boast a lot of young talent in Allen, Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and others, and they have a chance to be a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference in the coming years if those players continue to develop.

Even if they do, established veterans like Love are needed on the squad in order to guide them, and Altman clearly believes the 32-year-old five-time All-Star has the makeup needed to thrive in that role.