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Love Rumor Mill Up and Running Once More

Despite having been in Cleveland for barely five minutes, Kevin Love is once more being linked with a move to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite having been in Cleveland for barely five minutes, Kevin Love is once more being linked with a possible move to the Los Angeles Lakers next summer.

Less than two weeks into the NBA season and the Kevin Love rumor mill is being stoked up once again.

The latest turn of the mill has the Cleveland Cavaliers forward being linked with a potential return to the City of Angels and a stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to speculation, the move could manifest itself this summer, when Love can opt out of his current contract.

Born in Santa Monica before moving to Oregon as a child, Love returned to California to play for the UCLA Bruins in 2007. During his one year at Pauley Pavilion, Love averaged a double-double (17.5 points / 10.6 rebounds) and led the team to the Pac-10 regular season and tournament titles. He was drafted in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2008 NBA Draft.

After a frustrating playoff-less tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love arrived in The Forest City this past summer as part of a move that sent Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, to Minneapolis.

The new 'Big Three' have yet to truly gel.

The new ‘Big Three’ have yet to truly gel.

Joining forces with the returning LeBron James and the re-upped Kyrie Irving, Love became part of a Cavaliers side expected to win the NBA title. Things haven’t run smoothly so far though.

The Cavaliers struggled out of the gate, losing three of four and sending prognosticators, fans and so-called experts into a frenzy.

On Friday night the team saw off the Denver Nuggets on the road before earning a 118-111 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. The latter represented the Cavaliers’ first home win of the season and brought the team’s overall record up to .500.

Through six games, Love has averaged 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists, numbers that are all down on a season ago. No longer the focal point of the offense, that was to be expected though and it’s hard to argue that Love hasn’t put in a solid-if-quiet performance while the headlines have whirred around regarding James and Irving’s relationship.

But on Monday the suggestion arose that Love could be sporting purple and gold this time next season.

Posting on the NBA.com’s Chicago Bulls portal, Sam Smith wrote:

“It’s not going to get as much discussion during the season, but one of the biggest issues for the Cavs is that both LeBron James and Kevin Love own opt outs after this season. LeBron James basically cannot afford to go anywhere after his return to Cleveland. But watch out for Love. Indications are he will seriously consider the opt out and has his eyes on a return to Los Angeles, where he attended college and where the Lakers long have had him on their free agent wish list.”

The post was enough to prick the ears (and pens) of the major media outlets, including CBS Sports, NBC Sports, USA Today and Slam, amongst others.

Cleveland fans might want to breathe a sigh of relief though. No report features anything close to credible evidence. In fact, the original report from Smith is merely speculation from an unrelated source (and one – as pointed out by CBS – that probably shouldn’t be talking about other players for fear of inciting the NBA front office and its anti-tampering mandate).

It’s worth noting that the Kevin Love-Los Angeles Lakers connection is nothing new either, something Timberwolves fans will (not so) gladly talk you through. For the last two years it seemed that Love was on the verge of following the Lakers’ path from Minneapolis to Hollywood. That noise was finally quieted with this summer’s move, but six games into this season and it appears somebody wants to fan the fire once more.

For now, that fire is merely a pile of smoldering embers. Whether it ignites is yet to be seen. Perhaps we’ll find out when the Cavaliers play the Lakers at Staples Center on January 15. Maybe the cameras will catch Love lauding it up with Kobe. Maybe Jack Nicholson will have a word or two for the forward. Or maybe Love will drop 30 and 20 on the Lakers as a final rebuttal.

Incidentally, the return fixture is scheduled to take place at The Q on February 8.


The Cavaliers return to action this weekend with a third back-to-back series of the season. On Friday the team faces a road game against the Boston Celtics before returning home to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.


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