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Eastern Rumors: Love, Raptors, Stevens

Kevin Love has a complicated relationship with LeBron James but there’s a good chance that he will remain with the Cavaliers even if he opts out of the final year of his contract this summer, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. James has not spoken to Love about his future plans but said that Love is focused on recovering from shoulder surgery rather than his free-agency options, Finnan adds. Early indications are that Love wants to remain in Cleveland, though Love would draw significant offers on the market despite the injury he suffered during the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Finnan contends. Love has already proven his quality and his potential suitors will look at that rather than being overly concerned about his recovery, Finnan adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews would be a good fit for the Raptors, Doug Smith of the Toronto Sun opines in his weekly mailbag. Matthews, an unrestricted free agent this summer, averaged 15.9 points this season until he suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury. Toronto should not overspend this summer on the market, even though it also needs help in the frontcourt as well as the wing positions, because it will need plenty of salary-cap room in the summer of 2016, Smith continues. The Raptors should also be patient with center Jonas Valanciunas, Smith argues, pointing out that other top-caliber centers such as Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Tyson Chandler and Marc Gasol need time to develop.
  • Brad Stevens has made such a strong impression in his first two seasons with the Celtics that other teams are looking at college coaches much differently when shopping for a new head coach, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports. Stevens’ poised, professional approach to the job, as well as the way he has bonded with younger players and built relationships with veterans, has made it more palatable for NBA teams to look at top-level college coaches, Washburn continues. It paved the way for the Thunder to hire Florida’s Billy Donovan and strongly consider Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie even though the team is in a win-now mode, Washburn adds. Stevens had the benefit of being handed a younger club without many older players to challenge him in the locker room but his transition to the pros has still been an eye-opener, Washburn concludes.

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