The Cleveland Cavaliers are facing rumors that their top two stars may be opting out this offseason, and reports are growing that one of them won’t be coming back.
Both LeBron James and Kevin Love are expected to exercise their player options this offseason, making them free agents.
This is not a surprise for LeBron. When he signed with the Cavaliers last offseason he inked a one-year deal with a player option, which made it clear that he would be opting out after his first year with the team to sign a new deal.
SB Nation explained the reasoning behind it:
“James is due $21.6 million in the 2015-2016 season, after signing a one-year deal with a player option last July. With the league salary cap continuing to rise every season in the wake of the NBA’s new massive TV contract, it assumed by many that James will continue signing one- and two-year deals so that he’s continuously paid the maximum amount allowed. James reportedly made it clear to suitors last summer that he was no longer interested in taking a pay cut, like he did with the Miami Heat.”
But the odds of Kevin Love returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers appears much lower. The forward had trouble with the team all year, LeBron in particular. There have been signs that the two didn’t get along well, and that Love didn’t feel like he was part of the team’s core.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News noted.
In February, James seemed to be addressing Love’s attitude and role when he tweeted: “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts.”
Recently, James posted a photo on Instagram that he referred to as “Clique Up!!” The picture included James, Irving, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov. Conspicuously absent from the picture? Love.
There are other sources adding to the rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be losing Kevin Love. Yahoo! Sports‘ writer Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cavs front office has a “legitimate fear” that Love will be gone this offseason.
The rumors regarding the Cleveland Cavaliers are likely to grow at least for the next week or so. Free agency begins July 1, and the team will likely find out very quickly after that if Kevin Love will be back in Cleveland next season.
[Image via Getty Images/Gregory Shamus]