Kevin Love expects to play with Cavaliers next season

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love expects to be back with the team next season, he told reporters Sunday. 
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Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love expects to be back with the team next season, he told reporters Sunday. 

"I truly haven't even thought about it but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up for Game 1 [of next season]," Love said, according to Cleveland.com. One reporter asked Love if he meant he would play for Cavs. "Yes sir," Love replied.

Love, 26, can become a free agent this off-season by declining to exercise his $16.7 million player option. 

Love also said in January that he did not plan to become a free agent. "I don't plan on opting out or any of that," Love told Cleveland.com. "I plan on being here."

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Love, a three-time All-Star, was acquired before this season in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cleveland gave up two former No. 1 draft picks (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) and a first-round pick in this year's draft. 

If he chooses not to opt out, Love would be delaying signing a potential max contract that would pay him in excess of $22 million per year.

The Cavaliers will be playing in the NBA Finals beginning on Thursday but will be without Love, who suffered a season-ending injury in Cleveland's first-round series. 

- Dan Gartland