LeBron James and Kevin Love both plan to exercise their respective player options and terminate their current contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers, team general manager David Griffin said while addressing the media on Thursday. James is expected to re-sign with Cavaliers. Love’s plans are currently unknown.
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 was assumed by many that James would 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.
Love, on the other hand, is a different story. The troubles he had with James this season are well documented. It’s also unclear whether the Cavaliers want to bring him back, though Griffin did say that, like James, he expects Love to return to Cleveland next season.
However, earlier this week Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there is a “legitimate fear” inside the Cavaliers organization that Love will sign with another team this summer. Love opting out (at least according to Griffin) despite earlier this season saying he had no plans to, lends credence to that fear.
It’s also worth noting that James and Love are not the only Cavaliers set to become free agents. Tristan Thompson, who was given many of Love’s minutes during the playoffs, is a restricted free agent and last season turned down a four-year, $52 million offer. He’s represented by Rich Paul, James’ agent and good friend, so he’s expected to be brought back.
Griffin also said he plans on extending qualifying offers to both Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova, making them restricted free agents (for more on what this means, check out Fear the Sword).
Free agency in the NBA begins July 1. The deadline for Love to opt out of his current contract is June 25, while James’ deadline is June 29, according to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.