As the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle, one of the many subplots is Kevin Love’s impending free agency. Love has the ability to opt out this summer and become an unrestricted free agent, and when the Cavs traded Andrew Wiggins (among other pieces) for Love in August, there was a belief that he would sign a long-term deal this summer.
Even if he stays with the Cavs, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal is hearing that he may wait to sign a long-term deal.
Love is unlikely to sign long term this summer because of the salary cap. He is expected to opt out of his current contract at the end of the season for cap purposes, but he might only sign a one-year deal to line up for what is expected to be a significant cap spike in the summer of 2016.
Love has said all the right things about re-signing with the Cavs this summer and the Cavs continue to insist he’s here long term. Executives around the league, however, continue to believe Love could leave Cleveland at the end of the season. We’ll see. There is still a long way to go.
This is the smart play for Love. It’s what LeBron James did when he left Miami for Cleveland last summer. The league’s new TV deal kicks in in 2016, and that will lead to a massive rise in the salary cap — and with it, a rise in the maximum a superstar like Love can earn. Signing a short-term deal, whether with Cleveland or another team, will allow him to become a free agent again when he’s in line for an even bigger deal.
The smart money is on Love re-signing with the Cavs. You don’t walk away from playing with the best player in the world unless you’re going to an ideal situation. But if they don’t turn it around, he’ll have no shortage of suitors. Stay tuned.