CLEVELAND — Kevin Love is about to find out how much the league values him, and how much the Cavaliers want him.
The power forward opted 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.
ESPN was first to report Love’s decision.
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 left shoulder injury in the first round against Boston. Love underwent surgery after the shoulder was yanked from its socket by Celtics center Kelly Olynyk.
Love will likely draw major interest in the free agent market, and the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks could be potential landing spots for the three-time All-Star. He must now decide if he’d rather go elsewhere and put up big numbers or stay in Cleveland to chase an NBA title with James and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs have discussed offering Love a maximum deal, but it’s not clear if that’s what Love and his representatives are seeking. He may prefer to sign another one-year deal and then become a free agent again next summer to take advantage of the expected jump in the salary cap because of the league’s new TV deal, which will kick in before the 2016-17 season.
HORNETS TO SEND HENDERSON, VONLEH TO BLAZERS FOR BATUM: In Charlotte, N.C., the Charlotte Hornets acquired small forward Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for guard Gerald Henderson and power forward Noah Vonleh.
SOURCE SAYS MAGIC TRADE RIDNOUR FOR GRIZZLIES’ TIMMA RIGHTS: In Orlando, Fla., a person familiar with the deal said the Orlando Magic have agreed to send reserve point guard Luke Ridnour to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the rights to forward Janis Timma.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not officially been announced. The trade was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
The 34-year-old Ridnour appeared in 47 games last season for the Magic, averaging four points and two assists per game. He has played a total of 12 seasons in the NBA for five different teams.
Timma, a 6-foot-7 Latvian, was drafted by Memphis 30th overall in 2013. He has yet to play a regular season NBA game and currently plays in Europe.