LeBron's call lured Love to Cavs

  • Article by: TIM WARSINSKEY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 27, 2014 - 1:03 AM

Although he said he enjoyed his time in Minnesota, Love’s desire to play with James won out.

– When LeBron James called, Kevin Love said goodbye Minnesota and hello Cleveland. Love left behind six seasons without a playoff appearance, and immediately began visualizing NBA championships.

Just as James helped draw Chris Bosh with him to Miami four years ago, James’ first call as a Cav was to Love, his former Olympic teammate, who was looking for a way out of Minneapolis with one year remaining on his contract with the Timberwolves.

“LeBron had signed to come back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and just few hours later he called me, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m in,’ ” Love said Tuesday. “[James signing] had a lot to do with my decision.”

Love, traded to the Cavs in a three-team deal announced Saturday, was introduced to a media throng Tuesday at the Cavaliers’ practice facility in suburban Cleveland. Love has not signed an extension with the Cavaliers, but said he planned to stay.

“Like I told [Cavs General Manager David] Griffin, and [owner] Dan Gilbert, I’m committed to this team, committed long-term to the end goal, and that’s to win championships, and to win a championship here in Ohio,” Love said.

Love, a three-time NBA All-Star forward, acknowledged a sometimes rocky relationship with fans during his Minnesota tenure.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, Love said, “Just as a guy that worked extremely hard, was good to the community and tried to fit into that Minnesota nice lifestyle. I know we had some rocky and bittersweet moments, which kind of holds true for any player in the league, but I hope they’ll tend to look at the good times, like I do.”

Love said it was tough not making the playoffs in his six years with Minnesota.

“But saying I didn’t enjoy my time in Minneapolis wouldn’t be doing it right,” he said. “I loved my time there. The people of Minnesota were great. The fans were great. They showed up win, lose or draw. I really developed a lot of relationships all the way down through the organization, through ownership, through Flip [Saunders], management, players, all the way to probably my best friend there, which his Clayton Wilson, the equipment manager.

“It was a great six years. I enjoyed my time.”

Love did not shed light on when he told Minnesota he would not re-sign with the Timberwolves, or what he told the team, saying his agent, Jeff Schwartz, had those conversations with Saunders. Schwartz did not attend the news conference and Jaymee Messler of Schwartz’s agency, Excel Sports, declined to comment.

Griffin said the trade was in the works for 18 months.

James signed a two-year deal with the Cavaliers last month, and can opt out next year. Like Love, James said he is committed long-term to Cleveland.

Love developed a bond with James at the 2012 London Olympics, where he told Love he would be the reason the Team USA would win the gold medal, which it did.

“We’ve always had a common respect for each other. I always admired the way he worked, and I got to see that firsthand, really, in 2012,” Love said. “He would usually sit next to me and had a locker really close to me and would always tell me how good he thought I was. I would just kind of brush it off. I was kind of standoffish because I didn’t know him well.

“But when we were at MJ’s [Michael Jordan’s] 50th birthday party at the All-Star Game in Houston [in February 2013], he pulled me aside and I had a private conversation with him. I said I knew and I believed him then, what he thought of me. It just goes to show you that things come full circle, that I was the first call that he made after he signed, and I’m very happy about that.”

Love said he has found a place to live in Cleveland and worked out a couple times at the practice facility. Emblematic of what he hopes will be a fresh start in Cleveland, Love will wear uniform number 0. His first choices were not available because all are retired Cavaliers numbers: No. 42, his number in Minnesota, belonged to Nate Thurmond; 11, his Olympic number, belonged to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and 7 belonged to Bobby “Bingo” Smith.

Love said he spoke to Thurmond about wearing No. 42, and Thurmond agreed to it, but Love ultimately chose zero.

  • related content

  • Wolves' new players welcomed at a fair to remember

    Wednesday August 27, 2014

    The Timberwolves’ new players were welcomed by fans in carnival atmosphere Tuesday at the Minnesota State Fair.

  • Taylor questions Love's health, defense; Love suggests Taylor move on

    Wednesday August 27, 2014

    The Wolves owner offered candid assessments of his former star’s years with the team.

  • Live Blog replay: New Timberwolves at the State Fair

    Tuesday August 26, 2014

    Andrew Wiggins, Zach La Vine and the other new members of the Timberwolves were introduced at the Minnesota State Fair, Our Live Blog has photos, tweets and some video clips...

  • Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

    Tuesday August 26, 2014

  • Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love holds up his new jersey with general manager David Griffin at the NBA basketball team's practice facility in Independence, Ohio Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Love was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team trade that was finalized over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love answers questions during his introductory news conference at the NBA basketball team's practice facility in Independence, Ohio Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Love was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team trade that was finalized over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • With other numbers he’s worn already retired by the Cavaliers, Kevin Love will be No. 0.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Orlando 6:30 PM
Miami
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Boston
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Washington 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Montreal 6:00 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Colorado 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Nashville 7:30 PM
Chicago
NY Rangers 7:30 PM
Dallas
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Calgary
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Arizona
Rice 12:00 PM
Texas
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
Boston College
Johnson (TN) 5:00 PM
Char Southern
Wentworth 6:00 PM
Boston Univ
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Chattanooga
Toledo 6:00 PM
Duke
FIU 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Quincy 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
James Madison
Southern Miss 6:00 PM
LSU
Capital 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Maine 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
North Florida 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Towson
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Rider 6:00 PM
Wagner
IUPUI 6:00 PM
NC Central
Southern Arkansas 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Howard Payne 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Hampton 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Mount St Marys 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Midwestern St 7:00 PM
SMU
Tennessee St 7:00 PM
TCU
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Alice Lloyd 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Nebraska Omaha 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Auburn
Portland 8:00 PM
BYU
Saint Josephs 8:00 PM
Denver
Pepperdine 8:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Francisco 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Stephen F Austin 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
Pacific
UC Irvine 10:00 PM
Oregon
Gonzaga 10:00 PM
San Diego
Ark-Pine Bluff 10:00 PM
Stanford
Southern U 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Holy Cross 11:00 AM
Western Mich
Chattanooga 12:00 PM
South Dakota
UNC Greensboro 12:00 PM
Florida A&M
Savannah State 12:00 PM
Fordham
NJIT 12:00 PM
Clemson
St Gregorys 1:00 PM
Oral Roberts
CS-Northridge 1:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Harvard 1:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Norfolk State 1:30 PM
Stony Brook
LSU 2:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Princeton 2:00 PM
Hartford
New Mexico St 2:00 PM
Southern Utah
SIU-Edwardsville 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
Loyola Marymount 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Lipscomb 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Miami-Ohio 3:30 PM
Davidson
Nebraska Omaha 4:00 PM
Utah Valley U
Robert Morris 5:00 PM
Marshall
UC-Riverside 5:00 PM
Brown
Kennesaw St 5:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Auburn 5:00 PM
FIU
Seattle 6:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
(21) West Virginia
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
Ole Miss
Southern Miss 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Rider 6:00 PM
Delaware
Drexel 6:00 PM
Virginia
Furman 6:00 PM
Elon
UMBC 6:00 PM
Penn
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Akron 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Florida State
Grambling 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Evansville 6:00 PM
(7) Louisville
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Belmont
Chicago State 6:00 PM
Wright State
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Canisius
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Iona 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Ohio State 6:00 PM
(15) Maryland
Mercer 6:30 PM
Jacksonville St
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
(19) Miss State
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
(18) Oklahoma St
James Madison 7:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Hampton
Prairie View 7:00 PM
(6) Baylor
Samford 7:00 PM
Kansas
South Dakota St 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Howard 7:30 PM
Iowa State
Old Dominion 8:00 PM
California
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Utah
(5) Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Washington
San Diego 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
(10) Duke 8:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UT Martin 8:00 PM
Arizona
(12) Nebraska 8:00 PM
Minnesota
Coll of Idaho 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close