Kevin Love has repeatedly told reporters he’d like to stay in Cleveland. Yet those reporters still asked him those same questions over and over regarding where he sees himself next season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
This will be Love’s first encounter with free agency, a point in many star players’ lives where they look at the future and outlook of the team that they’ve played most of their careers with. They look to see if its headed in the winning direction and if management is building around them to make a run for the playoffs and even a championship.
Coincidentally, it will also be LaMarcus Aldridge’s first major encounter with free agency as well. Recently some reports are floating around In an interview following Portland’s Game 5 loss, Aldridge told Erik Gundersen of Columbia.com that he’s enjoyed his nine years in Portland, saying:
“Of course I love being here. I’m thankful for everything this city has give me. I’m thankful for my nine years my time here. It’s been an amazing nine years, of course I wouldn’t want to end.
“I’ve had a great nine years here. That’s always going to have more weight than anything else.”
Aldridge hasn’t said that he’s officially leaving Portland, but there’s growing speculation around the league that Aldridge is very gettable despite his connection to the team that drafted him.
Here’s a piece from ESPN’s Marc Stein on LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency plans:
We’re hearing Aldridge connected to both of those teams (San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks) so frequently that you can only conclude that neither idea scares him.
Yet sources insist — yes, at this early juncture — that San Antonio is near or at the top of Aldridge’s list … unless the Cleveland Cavaliers were to lose Kevin Love and then somehow manufacture a way to sign-and-trade for him.
Let’s make one thing clear here: although Kevin Love is highly expected to test the free agent market this summer, he is highly unlikely to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after one tough yet very successful season. Love went from a Minnesota team that won 40 games in 2013-14 and missed the playoffs every year of his six year career to an automatic contender, and within months, a championship favorite.
The only way Aldridge could be a Cavalier is if:
1) Kevin Love decides not to resign
2) Portland agrees to a sign-and-trade with Cleveland
The Cavs are likely all in for Kevin Love, with the motto and hashtag #WinForLove arising after Love’s season ending shoulder surgery. Love can shoot the three-pointer and space the floor far better than Aldridge, and Love is younger (26 years of age) than Aldridge (29 years of age) as well.
Although it has been tough for Love to fit in at times, all signs point to he and Cleveland coming to a long-term agreement that keeps him in a Cavs uniform for years to come as the Cavs try to pursue Cleveland’s first championship in over 50 years.