The Suns promise to be an aggressive suitor with Kevin Love headed for free agency, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, and the Blazers are likely to go after him if LaMarcus Aldridge leaves Portland, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. Many executives around the league expect Aldridge to depart, Stein writes, leaving room for Love, an Oregon native.
The Cavs remain the front-runners for Love, who’s insisted repeatedly that he wants to stay in Cleveland, Wojnarowski tweets, but the possibility remains that he’ll listen to pitches from the Celtics and Lakers, Wojnarowski adds. He doesn’t mention either Phoenix or Portland in that context, and it’s unclear if either team would be on Love’s wish list if he changes his mind about the Cavs. LeBron James doesn’t intend to put on a recruiting effort to keep Love, believing that the power forward understands the opportunity he has to continue with a Cleveland team that appears poised to be a perennial contender, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group (Twitter link).
Phoenix has only about $43MM in guaranteed salary against a projected $67.1MM cap, and while much of that appears to be earmarked for a new deal for Brandon Knight, his cap hold is less than $8.885MM, so Phoenix won’t necessarily have to contend with an eight-figure number on the books for him as it goes after other free agents. It still knocks the team out of max-level territory for Love, so Phoenix likely would have to either renounce Knight or swing a trade. Conflicting reports paint a somewhat confused picture about whether the Suns are shopping Eric Bledsoe.
The Blazers have only about $25MM in commitments for next season with three fifths of their starting lineup bound for free agency. Still, Damian Lillard‘s rookie scale contract runs through next season, and while he’ll seek a max extension this summer that wouldn’t kick in until 2016/17, he seemingly remains an alluring would-be partner for another star if Aldridge indeed departs.