For NBA players entering free agency, the wounds of regular-season underperformance and postseason disappointment are remembered in great detail around this time of year. However, like true athletes, they look forward to where their careers will be when basketball season returns and see nothing but opportunity. These five players know that chance rarely visits twice, and will likely make a major career decision during the break.
Kevin Love heading to Boston
After the Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk dislocated Kevin Love’s shoulder earlier in the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavalier has two options. He can either continue playing under LeBron James and Kyrie Irving next year, or create his own legacy as the star man of a team undergoing a rebuild. Yahoo Sports! Adrian Wojnarowski inferred that Love may use this summer to “look around,” and called Boston a “real, legitimate possibility” for the player. There, coach Brad Stevens and team owner Danny Ainge might be willing to grant him the type of role he could be looking for.
Dwyane Wade leaving the Miami Heat
The Big 3 of the Miami Heat have been disbanded for almost a year now. LeBron’s in Cleveland, Chris Bosh’s season ended with news of lung problems and Dwyane Wade had the indignity of his team not making it to the playoffs. Add to those the fact that Wade took a $10 million paycut to free up cap space to acquire new talent (and LeBron James, and nobody could blame Wade for eyeing the parachute cord that is his opt-out clause if team President Pat Riley doesn’t meet his demands. Bleacher Report postulates that the L.A. Lakers are a possible destination for the shooting guard.
Rajon Rondo leaving the Dallas Mavericks
As one of this year’s top free agent prospects, Rajon Rondo is reportedly of interest to several teams, including the L.A. Lakers, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers. Regardless of where he goes, it’ll put an end to a dramatic saga of discontent. There have been widespread reports of the widening rift between Rondo has Dallas Mavericks coach Carlisle. If the move is anything nearly as explosive as their dispute, it might not be a dull summer after all.
Jimmy Butler returning to the Chicago Bulls
One of the Chicago Bulls’ biggest movers and shakers during these playoffs, the NBA’s Most Improved Player Jimmy Butler, can write his own ticket when he goes into restricted free agency this summer. Of course, the Bulls have vested interest in keeping him around—for one, it’ll help continuity after Coach Tom Thibodeau’s firing. With a new coach, however, there’s a chance Butler will be given the role of lead man in addition to a maxed-out contract, which is plenty good reason to stick around.
LaMarcus Aldridge heading to a Texas team
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This season has no easy choices