What does this mean? Probably nothing. He was always going to opt out, if only to sign a one-year deal to remain with the Cavs, or a two-year deal with a player option on the second year. Even if he wants to stay with the Cavs long-term, it’s in his best interests to a) get as much money as possible now, and signing a one-year deal at the max will pay him around $3 million more than the final year of his previous deal, and b) put himself in the best position to be a free agent in one of the following two offseasons, when the league’s TV deal kicks in and the salary cap spikes.
The smart money is still on Love remaining in Cleveland, despite the logjam in the frontcourt that will come when they inevitably re-sign Tristan Thompson. Cleveland can pay him the most money of any team, and it’s tough for anyone to walk away from playing with LeBron James, which essentially means you’re guaranteed to be contending for a championship in the Eastern Conference every year. Plenty of teams will make calls to Love’s agent on July 1 — the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all have money to burn, and his hometown Blazers could be a dark-horse option if LaMarcus Aldridge leaves. But there’s still every reason to believe he’ll stay with the Cavaliers, if just for another year.
This was an obvious move, because Mozgov is a solid starting center, and starting centers typically get eight digits.
But it’s not difficult to see the Cavaliers’ payroll – counting player salaries and luxury tax – eclipsing $250 million next season if they bring everyone back and trade Brendan Haywood’s contract. Removing Mozgov, because of the progressive luxury tax, could save Cleveland more than $30 million.
If the Cavaliers are going to try saving money, they’ll do it somewhere else.
Nike commemorates LeBron James’ return to Cleveland with full-page ‘Plain Dealer’ ad
The Cavaliers may have lost in the Finals, but LeBron James’ return to Cleveland was the most important event in the franchise’s history. To commemorate the Cavs’ season, which involved making the Finals despite injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, Nike has taken out a full-page ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer recounting the season, with a twist. Here’s the full advertisement:
Here’s the full text of the ad:
Imagine if LeBron came home to Cleveland.
Imagine if the team struggled early but finished the regular season strong.
Imagine if their big man went down, but they still found a way to power through the Eastern Conference.
Imagine if they faced the top seed in the Finals.
Imagine if they pushed Game 1 to overtime but lost another star to injury.
Imagine if everyone counted them out.
Imagine if they shocked the world and took the next two games.
Imagine if fatigue caught up with them, and they lost Games 4 and 5.
Imagine if they defied odds, logic and the basketball gods to come back and win the series in 7.