For the second summer in a row, plenty of eyes were focused on the Cleveland Cavaliers when it came to how free agency played out.
Coming within two wins of an NBA Championship, Cleveland had plenty of internal moves it needed to make in order to remain a legit contender. The team came into the summer with three particularly key free agents to woo: Kevin Love, and to a lesser extent due to their being restricted, Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert.
While it was expected Shumpert and Thompson would at least be back on a qualifying offers, many rumors were still surfacing regarding Love’s supposed desire to play elsewhere. As the clock struck 12:01 this morning, you can bet the Cavs immediately started making plays towards these three.
Less than a full day into free agency, all of these players were checked off the list. Thompson is reportedly ready to sign an extension in excess of $80 million. This news came shortly after Love announced via The Players’ Tribune he was coming back to Cleveland on a five-year, $110 million max contract. And, just a little while ago, Shumpert agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal.
Many Cavs fans came into the offseason understandably nervous. They heard whispers of Love wanting to play on the west coast all season. They watched Thompson turn down a lucrative contract back in October. They came across stories of Shumpert wanting to meet with other teams. They saw LeBron James opt out and, despite word he was expected to re-sign, may have been anxious about his wait-and-see approach to the team’s free agency plans.
And today, those same fans likely let out an exhale large enough to be felt across the entire country. Provided James is satisfied with the team retaining three huge pieces in Love, Thompson and Shumpert, Cleveland once again looks set to make another Finals run next year.