Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors: LeBron James Opts Out Declines Player Option, Kevin Love Free Agent Return Priority With Tristan Thompson Contract

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Jun 26, 2015 09:34 AM EDT
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LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stand on the court during a game against the Atlanta Hawks on March 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia."

The Cleveland Cavaliers saw Kevin Love opt out of his contract to become a free agent this summer and now the priorities for the team moving forward is to sign back Love along with Tristan Thompson, who is hitting restricted free agency and this comes as LeBron James could also opt out of his deal, but he is not expected to be going anywhere.

The Cavaliers and many around the league expected Love to opt out and now the big question is whether or not he will take meetings with other teams. Love was acquired last summer in a trade for Andrew Wiggins with the Minnesota Timberwolves and his contract ran through 2016, but he had a player option for this year. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, James will not be "re-recruiting Love" this offseason and that "believes Love understands he can be a part of something special. It's his call." UPDATE: LeBron James has opted out of his deal.

There were media reports throughout the year that Love was not comfortable in Cleveland or playing with James, but he said during the playoffs that he is planning to stay with the Cavs. Love's future has been speculated on since he was traded last summer, as there were reports that the Cavaliers would sign Love to a max contract if he opted out the year after the trade. Love's numbers decreased from his production in Minnesota, but that had more to do with playing for a winning team and with James in a different system.

The Cavaliers want to retain Love and he can make more money by signing back with Cleveland over leaving for another team. Pro Basketball Talk reports that Love could be a target for the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks if he considers leaving Cleveland. Kurt Helin at Pro Basketball Talk speculates that Love will sign back with the Cavs for a two year deal with an opt out for the third season. Helin added that James likely will do the same, as he has the ability to opt out this summer.

The Cavaliers have Thompson also hitting the market, but he will be easier to keep since the team can match any offer for him this summer. Thompson is likely looking for a max deal and the Cavaliers may want to give him one, but with Love and James also needing to get paid, it could get complicated. JR Smith has opted out of his deal and is hoping to return, while Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are also free agents.

Thompson reportedly wants a max deal after previously turning down a four-year $52 million extension with the Cavaliers and it comes after he showed his value to the team in the finals. Thompson averaged 13 rebounds in the finals after putting up eight points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season. Love is the main priority and there will be teams going after him with Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the Suns could be a sleeper option for Love. RealGM reports that the Cavaliers could consider a sign and trade with Love and one of his suitors if he wants to leave the team. 

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