For quite a while, before Kevin Love joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed as if the Boston Celtics would be the favorites to land him. Now that Kelly Olynyk injured him, taking him out of the playoffs, maybe even on purpose, is that hope gone?
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, that’s not the case. Love doesn’t think Olynyk sabotaged his career or season or anything like that; at least not anymore. Many think Love is going to opt out of his deal and skip the final season of his contract, hitting free agency before the 2015-2016 season begins. The Celtics are still in the running?
I’m told authoritatively that Love holds no long-lasting ill will toward either the Celtics or Olynyk. Boston can offer Love a max deal a second after midnight on July 1, an opportunity to again be the focal point of his team, lead an emerging surrounding cast and play for a terrific young coach.
It’s hard to tell with Love, and not just because of how this season went, but because of the expected salary cap surge in 2016. If that’s going to be the case and the league (trying to curb it, although that’s simply going to make a strike happen faster) will lift the salary cap up to around $90 million for every team, than signing a long term contract in 2015 makes no sense.
Love struggled with his third-string role this season, often playing as a true, exclusive stretch 4. His numbers obviously dipped, but it seemed like his importance to the team grew as the season ended with the playoffs beginning. David Blatt learned a lot more about how to utilize Love, while the power forward felt more comfortable in his role as well.
It’s hard to say what happens in Cleveland after the playoffs are over (currently holding a 3-2 lead in the conference semifinals over the Bulls). James stays? He has an opt out too. Love probably should stay although that’s not the buzz around the league. It makes sense for him both professionally and financially, but players don’t always listen to sense, and go with what their “loyal” advisors tell them to.