Four years after aligning with James and Kyrie Irving to form a Big Three of stars that ended Cleveland’s five-decades-long championship drought by winning an NBA title in 2016, Love is the only one who remains with the Cavaliers.
While James left for Los Angeles as a free agent this summer, and Irving forced his way to Boston via trade a year ago, Love has found a home — and peace — in Cleveland.
Before James announced that the next chapter of his career would be written in Hollywood, Love — who had been the focus of trade rumors almost from the moment he arrived — told the Cavs he was willing to lead.
“I’m staying,” he informed general manager Koby Altman. “I want to be a part of this.”
“This” is life without James, the end of the four-year run and start of a rebuild as massive as the $140 million renovation taking place at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers’ downtown home that is no longer one of the league’s hottest spots with James gone.
But while the Cavs are no longer an elite team or national TV fixture, Love believes Cleveland’s competitive days aren’t done.
“We’re going to be a team that surprises a lot of people,” said Love, who signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension. “(Coach