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Will Kevin Love opt out and become a free agent this summer?

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If Love feels he's being underutilized, he may opt for greener pastures.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to have figured out a few things and are playing much more up to their prodigious potential than they were early in the year. You'll remember that the Heat went through a similar process in their first year, which ended up with them making it to the Finals (before losing to the Mavs).

So you would be tempted to believe that history is repeating itself and that Love is going to play the Chris Bosh role of taking a step back and filling in the gaps that LeBron and company need.  The problem is that Bosh and Love are different players and different people in different situations with different coaches.  In short, what worked for Bosh may not work so well for Love.

For one thing, Love's game is much different than it has been during his very successful (statistical) career.

Cavaliers will need old Kevin Love to overcome Hawks' new defensive tactic, not stretch-four Love | cleveland.com

Love is launching 8.1 threes per contest in his last seven games. His highest rate of threes taken in Minnesota was 6.6 last year, and that was along with the inside touches he received. No matter what the statistics suggest, Love is not in agreement on the big-man long distance tag. "I heard some people calling me that but I know I'm not a stretch-four," Love told NEOMG. "I'm a post player who can shoot. Right now I'm just doing what I'm called to do. For good, bad or indifferent, I'm playing my role and doing what's asked of me. Tonight, I stayed out on the perimeter."

Kevin Love says he's not a stretch four, continues to play like one | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo Sports

Love's comments essentially confirm that he is taking outside shots because of his prescribed role in the Cleveland offense, not his personal preferences. That makes intuitive sense to anyone who has watched Love in his career, because he can be a bull on the block and earned his reputation as a top power forward with those skills. To put it another way, Love is a post player who can shoot in terms of abilities but currently a stretch four in terms of application.

It makes you wonder if Kevin Love is really happy with his situation after all.   I'm sure in theory he's happy to step back for the betterment of his team, but is it really fair to ask a guy to not utilize his strengths to their full ability?  Maybe he'd be better off somewhere where he can be the kind of player he wants to be and still fight for a championship.

Obviously the interest from our perspective revolves around the potential for him coming to Boston as a free agent. As of now he's got a player option to continue on in Cleveland next season but he could opt out and be a free agent this summer.  Despite his step back in productivity, he's sure to get multiple teams willing to offer him max money this offseason.  The Celtics will likely be one of them.

Can Danny Ainge sell him on Brad Stevens and the cast of characters currently on the roster?  Maybe not, but things get a lot more interesting when you factor in the trade assets and the potential for making another move to add some more firepower next to him (and perhaps the kind of players that compliment his game more than his current teammates).

It is at least something to keep an eye on this summer.