Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors: Kevin Love Return, Tristan Thompson Contract Priority, LeBron James Free Agent Opt Out Likely

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Jun 22, 2015 10:08 AM EDT
Kevin Love #0 and Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Love #0 and Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers walk onto the court ahead of LeBron James #23, Brendan Haywood #33 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 25, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio."

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming into the offseason with a lot to deal with, as the team expects Kevin Love to return along with LeBron James, but James and Love have the chance to opt out as free agents, while Tristan Thompson has a contract coming and it could be a max deal and this comes as the team may shop a Brandon Haywood with a draft pick to upgrade the roster heading into free agency.

The Cavaliers fought hard in the NBA finals, but they fell short and now the team is looking to upgrade the roster for James next year. James has the chance to opt out and that likely will happen according to media reports, but no one thinks that James will consider leaving Cleveland again. James wants to be a free agent now and possibly again in 2016 with the salary cap rising and that is a big deal, as the Cavs need money to keep Tristan Thompson and to sign back Love in the future.

According to Brian Windhorst at, Love is likely opting out, but there is a good chance he stays in Cleveland as well. Windhorst reports that unnamed executives in the league see Love and LaMarcus Aldridge as the players likely to leave their current teams in free agency, but after what the Cavs gave up for Love, the team simply has too much invested in him to let him go. The Cavs likely will do whatever they need to do to keep Love and that could mean a big contract this summer if he opts out.

Love was injured in the playoffs, but towards the end of the season he really started to mesh well with James and that could be something to build on, Keeping Love is a priority and so is keeping Tristan Thompson. Thompson is a restricted free agent so the Cavs have the advantage in that regard, but reports have Thompson wanting to get paid and with James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love all expected to remain on the roster, there may not be as much money around as Thompson wants. UPDATE: Love has opted out of his deal with the Cavs.

The salary cap going up in the future helps and according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, Thompson wants a "max or near-max contract" for his next deal. Thompson reportedly already rejected a $52 million extension over four years from the Cavs, as he expects to get more down the line. David Griffin said that the team plans on keeping Thompson and it comes after he showed his immense value in the playoffs with Love out. Thompson averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season and he should be a main target for teams if the Cavs don't retain him this summer.

On top of all those names, the team also has Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova hitting free agency and there is a good chance they try and keep a couple of those players. Ideally all three would return, but the Cavs may not have the space for that. Smith may have played himself out of things with his finals performance, but Dellavedova likely has a place on the roster after his strong play. 

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