Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love opted out of his $16.7 million player option on June 24, per league sources who told ESPN's Marc Stein.
Kevin Love has officially opted out of his player option for the 2015-16 NBA season.
League sources confirmed Love's move to ESPN's Marc Stein on June 24. Love is not exercising the option -- the final year of this two-year deal with the Cavaliers -- worth $16.7 million. This means he is set to become a free agent on July 1.
Stein stresses Cleveland was "expecting the decision" and plans to re-sign Love to a new, long-term deal.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin told The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Chris Haynes on Wednesday he expects Love to ink a new contract with Cleveland. The Cavaliers are the only team who can offer him a five-year deal.
ESPN sources say Cavs forward Kevin Love has opted out of the final year of his contract and will be a free agent July 1— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2015
On the other hand, other teams will only be able to dangle a four-year deal, per Haynes. They will only be able to offer a five-year contract if both sides agree to a sign-and-trade.
Should Love decide to re-sign with Cleveland, he can earn an additional $3 million in 2015-16 even if it's just a one-year deal, per The Akron Beacon Journal's Jason Lloyd.
Sources also tell Stein the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are interested in signing Love. Another possibility is the Portland Trail Blazers in the event that unrestricted free agent power forward Lamarcus Aldridge leaves.
As mentioned in Kevin Love link, one wild card to track is Portland. Blazers widely expected to pursue Love if they lose LaMarcus Aldridge— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2015
When ESPN's Ramona Shelburne talked to Love after Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 6, he reiterated his stance of staying in Cleveland:
"Yes. I want to win.
"It's just the way the world works now. People talk so much and might tell themselves a lie so much they start to believe it. From there, the narrative starts to change.
"I haven't changed my narrative. I'm going to keep supporting these guys, and we'll be talking to Cleveland after the season."
Four days before Love spoke with Shelburne, he told a media throng he expects to play for the Cavaliers in 2015-16. When a reporter asked him if his prediction of playing in Game 1 of the 2015-16 NBA season will be with Cleveland, Love replied in the affirmative, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin:
"I truly haven't thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year.
"Yes, sir (when asked if this will be with the Cavaliers)."
With this, Haynes says Love can choose to either sign a five-year deal with Cleveland or "go the one-and-one path" which features a player option on the second year.
However, if Love does leave, Haynes stresses losing him after the Cavaliers traded 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves to obtain him "would be a huge blow to the franchise."
Cavaliers star forward LeBron James will not reach out to Love and try to convince him to stay, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
In his June 24 update, Lloyd describes the relationship between James and Love as "clumsy":
"The relationship between Love and LeBron James was certainly clumsy during their first year together, starting with James' curious fit in/fit out tweet he admitted was geared toward Love before later denying it.
"Then came Love calling Russell Westbrook the league MVP instead of James, followed by James' playful jab back at Love late in the regular season. Asked whom he would vote for if he had an MVP ballot, James grinned and said 'Kevin Love.'
LeBron James won't be re-recruiting Kevin Love, I'm told. He believes Love understands he can be a part of something special. It's his call.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 24, 2015
"The on-court fit wasn't always perfect, either. Love quitely complained about wanting inside touches more consistently, while the Cavs too often turned him into strictly a three-point shooter."
Love deciding not to exercise his player option is a stark contrast to what he told Haynes on Jan. 13 when the Cavaliers got off to a 19-19 start:
"I think that we will figure it out here, so I don't plan on opting out or any of that. I plan on being here. As far as leaving my options open, I mean sure, it's always there. At the end of the day, it's always good to have something but no, I plan on being here."
Love missed the majority of the Cavaliers' run to the 2015 NBA Finals after he disclocated his shoulder during a loose-ball scuffle with Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series in late April, per Stein.
Love's averages of 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 2014-15 marked the first time since his rookie year he didn't average a double-double, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
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