CLEVELAND (AP) – Kevin Love is about to find out how much the league values him, and how much the Cavaliers want him.
The power forward is opting out of the final year of his contract and will be a free agent on July 1, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press. Love, who had a deal worth $16.7 million next season, informed the Cavs on Wednesday, said the person who spoke on condition because the team is not commenting on its free agency plans.
Last week, general manager David Griffin said he expected Love and superstar LeBron James to opt out of their deals and become free agents. Griffin also expects them to re-sign with the Cavs, who made it to the NBA Finals this season before losing to Golden State.
The 26-year-old Love, who came to Cleveland last summer in a blockbuster trade from Minnesota, has said he wants to return to the Cavs. Cleveland played without Love for most of the playoffs after he suffered a shoulder injury in the first round against Boston. Love underwent surgery after his shoulder was yanked from the socket by Celtics center Kelly Olynyk.
Love will likely draw major interest in the free agent market. He must now decide if he’d rather go elsewhere or stay in Cleveland to chase an NBA title with James and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
While his role changed during his first season with Cleveland, Love still averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 75 starts.