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Kevin Love opts out of contract with Cleveland Cavaliers

It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers will be forced to justify their love for one of their top players.

Kevin Love, who played a big role in the LeBron James-led resurgence in Cleveland this season, is opting out of the final year of his Cavaliers contract, according to multiple reports.

Love, who was set to make $16.7 million next season, informed Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin of his decision Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Griffin told reporters last week he expected Love and James to opt out of their deals this summer, and also said he expected both of them to re-sign with the Cavaliers.

ESPN first reported Love's decision to opt out.

Love, 26, was acquired by Cleveland last summer in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had an uneven season with the Cavaliers but said last month he was planning to return to Cleveland next season.

Speaking to reporters on May 31, Love responded, "Yes, sir," when asked if he will be playing for the Cavaliers next season.

''I truly haven't even thought about it, but as I mentioned, I expect to be suiting up by Game 1 of next year,'' Love said.

Love's season came to an early end when he suffered a dislocated left shoulder during the Cavaliers' opening playoff series against the Boston Celtics. There was speculation during the season Love would eventually opt out of his contract after a sometimes uneasy first season playing alongside James.

In February, James criticized Love when he tweeted, "Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be a part of something special!" James was referring to Love's comment during the preseason that his focus was on being himself and not trying to "fit in" with his new teammates.

Love said he didn't have a problem with James' tweet, but he later admitted he wasn't "best friends" with James.

One of the NBA's top power forwards, Love should draw plenty of interest from NBA teams once free agency begins July 1. He averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 75 starts last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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