According ESPN's Marc Stein, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has opted out of the final year of his contract and will become a free agent on July 1. Were Love to opt in for next season, he would have made $16.7 million as part of an extension he signed while still a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
What comes next figures to be the bigger story. While Love has stated his intention to return to Cleveland on multiple occasions, he is sure to take calls from other teams that can offer him a max contract this summer. As Grantland's Zach Lowe noted earlier this week, some league executives think that the Cavs will sign and trade Love after advancing to the NBA Finals without him. Love tore his labrum in the Cavs' first round series vs. the Boston Celtics.
Teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers will have the cap space necessary to sign Love to the max deal he'll likely be seeking. According to ESPN, the Lakers, Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers - if LaMarcus Aldridge leaves in free agency - are among the teams that will pursue Love.
Love also has the option of signing a shorter deal now and testing free agency again in a few years once the cap dramatically rises.
The Cavs acquired Love last summer by trading 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and picks to Minnesota as part of a three-team deal. Love, 26 years old, averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this season. Cleveland is the only team that can sign him to a five-year max that would be worth $108.3 million.