The Cleveland Cavaliers may have Kevin Love opt out of his contract this summer as a free agent and if he does that, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets and NY Knicks will be interested in signing him in free agency this summer and this comes after he has said he will not be leaving LeBron James and the Cavs this year.
Love's future has been speculated about all year and after his injury against the Celtics, Pro Basketball Talk reported that the Cavs were anticipating that he would opt out. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who is usually very dialed into things, Love likely will "look around" at teams in free agency, but that does not mean he will be leaving the Cavaliers. Wojnarowski said that Love likely "would be in play" and added that while he could "stay" where he is now, there is "no question" he will be looking at his options.
Obviously there is still a finals to be played with the Cavaliers before anything happens and that could dictate what Love ends up doing. Tristan Thompson has played well in Love's absence, but after the Cavaliers traded away Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Love, they likely do not want to lose him this fast. If the Cavs win the championship the sting of losing Love will not be as great, but the team clearly wants him to stay.
Love has time to contemplate before he opts in or opts out and Woj reports that if he does op out, teams like the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics would be in play. Yahoo writes that Love enjoyed playing under Kevin McHale in Minnesota and could consider Houston, while the Celtics could be a fit even after they injured him during the playoffs. The Rockets are in the best position to win now, while the Celtics are up and coming and the Lakers are rebuilding.
Adding Love and another big name free agent could be enough for the Lakers to get things going in the right direction and they have long wanted Love in LA. Love had issues during the season fitting in with the offense and he had to change his style a bit while playing with LeBron. Love will be the top target on the market if he opts out and if he goes now or waits until next summer, he will be making a ton of money either way.
Love's numbers were down overall this season, but that was expected while playing with LeBron James. Love averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game after averaging 12 rebounds and 26 points the year before with the Wolves. Love was injured in the previous season, but he has not dealt with any other serious injuries and is one of the best offensive forwards in the game when healthy.
Love is just 26 years old and if he looks around at teams this summer, the Lakers, Rockets and Celtics all could be attractive. The Knicks would love to get him, but that is not happening and Love also has connections to LA from playing college there. Love could be the new star that takes over in Los Angeles once Kobe Bryant retires, but there is also a good chance he stays in Cleveland.