LeBron James, Kevin Love

Report: Kevin Love will seriously consider opting out, maybe to join Lakers

126 Comments

Kevin Love has said he wants more inside touches, and LeBron James acknowledges getting those looks for Love will be an adjustment.

Chris Bosh predicted this, and so did Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

Every naysayer is seeing those warning signs come to fruition and chomping at the bit after the Cavaliers’ 2-3 start.

Which leads to…

Sam Smith of Bulls.com:

It’s not going to get as much discussion during the season, but one of the biggest issues for the Cavs is that both LeBron James and Kevin Love own opt outs after this season. LeBron James basically cannot afford to go anywhere after his return to Cleveland. But watch out for Love. Indications are he will seriously consider the opt out and has his eyes on a return to Los Angeles, where he attended college and where the Lakers long have had him on their free agent wish list.

Of course Love will opt out.

His 2015-16 salary is slated to be $16,744,219. But because he’d be eligible for a higher max contract due to his years of experience and the NBA salary cap is rising, Love projects to have a max salary of $18,602,898 next season.

So, even if Love believes staying in Cleveland one more year is his best option – what he’d be declaring by opting in – there’s no good reason to opt in. He could just opt out and re-sign on a one-year contract while giving himself a $1,858,679 raise.

That said, if Love opts out, the odds of him re-signing for only one year are next to nil.

The original report of his trade to Cleveland said he’d reached a handshake agreement to re-sign for five years with the Cavaliers. Of course, once he becomes a free agent, anything could happen. He could pursue long- or short-term deals anywhere.

The Lakers are always listed as a possible destination for Love, but I think that’s mostly wishful thinking. Though they could open max cap room, the Lakers still couldn’t offer as much as Cleveland, both financially and in terms of team quality. I doubt Los Angeles, after Love forced his way to the Cavaliers, has a large enough edge as a city over Cleveland to sign Love.

Love opting out is nearly a forgone conclusion, but don’t mistake that near certainty with his intention to leave the Cavaliers. They still have the inside track on keeping him, and if they right themselves this season, their edge will only grow.

If you want proof Chandler Parsons will be “all ears” during free agency, he gave it

DENVER, CO - MARCH 06:  Chandler Parsons #25 of the Dallas Mavericks controls the ball against JaKarr Sampson #9 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on March 6, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 116-114 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Dallas is going after Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside in free agency. If they strike out with those two, then they say they are willing to talk to Chandler Parsons about coming back. But not at a max salary.

That’s not going to work; Parsons is likely going to get the max ($22 million for him). Yes, he is coming off his lowest-scoring season since his rookie year (13.7 per game), plus he only played in 61 games and sat out the end of the last two seasons due to troubling knee issues. But his versatile game (and the flood of money in the system this summer) has Orlando and other teams targeting Parsons.

Someone close to Parsons told ESPN “he’ll be all ears” listening to other offers.

Parsons confirmed that on Instagram Saturday.

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

The Chandler Parsons sweepstakes starts July 1.

(Hat tip Marc Stein ESPN)

Report: Lakers, Wizards will not get meeting with Kevin Durant. Knicks still hoping.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant reacts to a play during the second half in Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Dallas. The Thunder won 131-102. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Associated Press
4 Comments

The Thunder remain the front runners.

The Warriors are next in line. The Spurs, Clippers, Celtics, and Heat will get their chances.

Everyone wants a shot to pitch Kevin Durant, the only franchise-changing free agent on the market this year. Two teams who wanted a chance will miss out: The Lakers and Durant’s hometown Wizards, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Despite years of speculation about Durant possibly signing with his hometown Washington Wizards or the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of his situation told USA TODAY Sports that those two teams are not expected to land a meeting with the former MVP. As it stands, it’s the six aforementioned teams coming Durant’s way at a location that has not yet been determined.

The New York Knicks have earned their way onto Durant’s radar, having traded for Derrick Rose recently to create quite the combination with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Yet as of now, it remains to be seen how that particular scenario will be handled. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation.

Good on Durant for being up front with teams and saying who is in and out, not wasting time meeting with teams he would never sign with.

That said, it should worry the Thunder that he has opened the door this much.

Just not to the Wizards and Lakers.

Ever since LeBron James returned to Cleveland, there has been an expectation from some fans in other cities that players want to come home. That is not always the case — most players don’t like the added off-court demands and pressures that come with being a star in their hometown. That always stood in the Warrior’s way, more than just questions about the roster.

The Lakers are a year away from really getting into these conversations. The addition of Brandon Ingram to D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance — with Luke Walton coaching — has potential to grow into the kind of team stars will want to join and take over the top. But that’s going to be in 2017 and 2018, not this summer. This Lakers team still needs to jell, and that will take a little time.

Report: DeMar DeRozan only going to negotiate with Toronto, wants to return

TORONTO, ON - MAY 27:  DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors reacts in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Getty Images
5 Comments

DeMar DeRozan has made it clear from the start — he loves Toronto. He wants to stay with the Raptors, here is what he said after they were eliminated from the playoffs:

“My mindset has always been Toronto… When we was terrible, I said I’m going to stick through this whole thing and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don’t want to switch up after we win.”

Good to his word, he’s not even going to meet with anyone but Toronto come the start of free agency next Friday, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Source: DeMar DeRozan will focus on getting a deal done to return to the Raptors as free agency opens. No plans to meet with other teams barring the unforeseen development of talks breaking down the Toronto.

While there had been rumors and talking heads pushing his return to his native Los Angeles, DeRozan always has put Toronto first. And the Lakers weren’t going to overspend on him anyway.

DeRozan knows how to get to the rim and averaged 23.5 points a game last season in Toronto, which got him both on the All-Star team and now on the Olympic team for Rio. It also got Toronto to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. He, along with fellow Team USA member Kyle Lowry, drive the Raptors offense. Yes, he needs to become more comfortable taking (and hitting) the three ball, but he’s still a guy who puts up points. Toronto needs him.

DeRozan is going to get a max or near max deal from the Raptors and they will figure this out quickly, GM Masai Uriji wants to keep him and will not mess around with the negotiations.

Report: Kyrie Irving accepts invitation to join Team USA, rounds out Rio roster

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Fourteen
Kyrie Irving
3 Comments

This was expected. Kyrie Irving tore up the World Championships two years ago scoring 26 points in the gold medal game and being named tournament MVP. Also, the former Duke Blue Devil is one of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s favorites. USA Basketball wanted him in Rio. The question was, did he want to do it after a deep playoff run where he played his best in the Finals? There was an assumption he would, but so many players had bailed that the question was a legitimate one.

Yes, he’s in, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

While the announcement isn’t official until Monday, here is your USA Basketball team for Rio:

Kyrie Irving
Kyle Lowry
Jimmy Butler
Klay Thompson
DeMar DeRozan
Kevin Durant
Paul George
Draymond Green
Carmelo Anthony
Harrison Barnes
DeMarcus Cousins
DeAndre Jordan

You could form a better team with the guys out due to injury or understandably not wanting to deal with the Zika virus and other challenges in Brazil: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Gordon Hayward, and Bradley Beal.

But that second team will keep Team USA’s 63-game international win streak intact and bring home the Gold again. No question.