The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James set to opt out of his contract to be a free agent this summer and he is likely to return, while Kevin Love also declined his player option and he is the main priority for the Cavs front office along with Tristan Thompson, while players like JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are hitting the market.
According to ESPN.com, James has "notified" the Cavs that he will be opting out this summer to be a free agent. Brian Windhorst reported that james is "planning to re-sign" and that he is going to "wait and see how the team's free agency plan plays out" heading into free agency. James and Love are the top priorities for the Cavaliers along with Thompson, but the team is not expecting James to go anywhere so they are not worried about losing him this summer.
The team is also expecting Love to stay, but of the main group he is the most likely to leave if someone does, as teams like the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics are planning to do after him in free agency. The Cavaliers have a number of players hitting free agency with Love, James, Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova going to the market and the team also is planning to target other players on the market to give James more support moving forward.
James is not expected to leave and Marc Stein reports that this time around James is not planning to take any meetings with teams in free agency. Thompson reportedly is looking for a deal near the max and while he is likely to get it, it could keep the Cavs from making any significant free agent signings this summer. Thompson showed his value during the playoffs with Love injured, but paying Thompson, James, Love and Kyrie Irving could be tough even with the salary cap rising the next few years.
Love and his future has been in question all season and the media has speculated that he will seriously consider leaving Cleveland this summer. Love has said that he plans on staying in Cleveland and the main question could be about his contract size. Love is in line for a five year max deal, but with James and Thompson needing to be re-signed, there is a chance that the Cavs go slightly below the max. James will be in line to make a ton of money over the next few years and he could opt for short term deals over that time.
The lower level free agents are also important for the Cavs, as the bench proved to be crucial for the team this season and in the playoffs they became significant with all of the injuries that the team dealt with. The Cavaliers love the way Dellavedova stepped up in the finals with Kyrie Irving out and while he did not play as well over the finals two games compared to the first few, he is still likely to come back. Smith could be an option to return, as GM David Griffin said the team would be open to it, but Shumpert could end up as the odd man out despite playing well through the playoffs.