Kevin Love would be smart to stay with LeBron James and Cavaliers

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They keep asking, Kevin Love keeps denying. To this point, the new powerhouse Cleveland Cavaliers have been a disappointment.

They haven't dominated. They haven't even been good. That's led to plenty of speculation that the new Big 3 could be short-lived, with Kevin Love bolting for Los Angeles when he's eligible to.

For his part, Love has denied, denied and denied some more.

"If I could end all the speculation now, I would,” Love told ESPN's Mike & Mike Show. “But people are going to continue to talk no matter what. I just want to continue getting better with this team long term. I’m a Cleveland Cavalier."

So why not commit now?

Signing a long-term deal now would be a bad idea for Love, because of NBA rules on contract extensions and the power of the open market.

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Love has a player option for the 2015-16 season that he is expected to decline. Then, he'll be a free agent. And, all these rumors that he acts like he's complaining about right now will lead to more money in the bank for him.

If the Cavaliers truly believe he's willing to bolt, they will have to pay everything they are allowed to in a max contract extension. That could mean up to $107 million over five years, according to SBNation. Right now, he could only get himself a two-year deal.

Will he really stay?

The reason for all the speculation that Love will bolt are his California ties. He is a relative of the original “California Dreamin'” crew with an uncled who is the lead singer of the Beach Boys.

He didn't play high school in California, but he went to school at UCLA and is beloved in the town. Also, the Lakers have to make a push to put some kind of team around Kobe Bryant to give him a chance to win again before his career ends. Love would be that guy, much like he is that guy for the Cavs with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

The thing is, Love will get similar money from the team both places. But, in L.A., there are plenty of other endorsement and money-making opportunities.

How bad does he want to win?

Winning is the ultimate question. If he wants to win, his best shot is in Cleveland. Kobe is too old and there is too little around him to think he is better than LeBron and Irving. That is why the rumor continues to not make sense.

Carmelo Anthony made the decision this offseason to go for the money and power of being in New York over the opportunity to win in Chicago.

At this point, a big part of him is probably regretting that decision. Will Kevin Love learn from it?

LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James

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