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Kevin Love wants to stay in Cleveland this off-season no matter what LeBron James does. Love won’t demand a trade but his ideal scenario would be to play alongside James.
When asked about whether he will be staying in Cleveland or not, Love told WKYC “people have been saying that for the past four years. I knew that question would come, but I like being here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here.”
Love added that his favorite scenario will be to play alongside James.
“Obviously, I'd love to play with LeBron the rest of my career but that will be a choice that he makes.”
It sounds like Love will stay with Cleveland and that he wants James to stay with the Cavs. Love has been criticized a lot the past couple of years for not being a great player alongside James. Now that James is gone, Love may put up better numbers because he will have more plays designed for him and he’ll get more possession.
The Cavaliers may not feel the same way because Love’s contract is a hefty one. He is going to make $24 million next year and has a player option the year after worth about $25.5 million. They will most likely try to get rid of his contract but there won’t be much takers.
Cleveland will end up stuck with Love for the next two years because it's unlikely he will opt out of his player option. Nobody is going to pay him that much if he opts out. If he wants to win, he can opt out and join LeBron or any other team that is in contention. Again, I don’t see that happening because a year later, he will have that same option.
Will Cleveland still be a playoff team without James? That depends on who they draft with the number eight pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and who they can bring in to replace James. It’s impossible to replace James production but the Cavs have the talent to play well. They have scorers and a lot of veterans to carry them. They need a great scorer and play-maker and they will be set.
If they are able to pull off what they Utah Jazz did last year by drafting Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs can make the playoffs next year. They do play in the Eastern Conference so unless they stink, they should be in playoff contention for most of the year.
The Cavs have to like where they are at. They will retain Love and have a top ten pick in the upcoming draft. They have a bright future no matter what James chooses to do this off-season.