Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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With momentum building toward LeBron James deciding to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time, the team has no intention of trading Kevin Love, according to a report.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports sources say the Cavaliers would not deal Love, a five-time All-Star who has two years remaining on his contract that will pay him approximately $50 million, even if James heads west.
“There is no reason to go backwards,” a source told Vardon.
Love, 29, averaged 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game last season for Cleveland. If James exits, Love could become the focal point of the team’s offense, as he was in Minnesota before the Cavaliers traded Andew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to acquire him in the summer of 2014 when James returned after spending four years in Miami.
The UCLA product will be paid $24.1 million next season and has a $25.6 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
It’s been reported the Cavaliers are intending to re-sign swingman Rodney Hood, who becomes a restricted free agent Sunday.
Cleveland has a $5.3 million exception to the salary cap and in Vardon’s report it states the Cavaliers are interested in bringing back veteran Jeff Green, who played on an NBA-minimum contract last season.
Teams can begin negotiating with players one minute after midnight tonight. The NBA salary cap is projected at $101 million for next season. Whether James exits or stays the Cavaliers will be over the cap.
If James does indeed flee, Cleveland could find ways to lower its cap number. At 37, Kyle Korver has a contract for $7.6 million next season and only a small guarantee for 2019-20, which could make him an attractive option for other teams.
The Cavaliers could also waive veteran point guard George Hill, his is owed $19 million next season and stretch his salary over the next several seasons.
James’ exit would move Cleveland below the league’s $123 million luxury-tax line, which would result in owner Dan Gilbert not having to dig deep to pay more tax penalties and create some flexibility for the Cavaliers.
Gilbert is expected to $60.6 million in luxury taxes from last season. In the past four seasons, he has shelled out more in taxes than the other 29 NBA teams combined.
Cleveland’s No. 1 draft pick next year is owed to Atlanta as part of the trade that brought Korver to Cleveland. It is top-10 protected. The Cavaliers do own their 2020 first-round draft pick.
Cleveland drafted Alabama point guard Collin Sexton with the eighth overall selection in the NBA draft two weeks ago.