As the NBA playoff races are heating up, so too are some early offseason rumors.

Whether it be free agency, draft, coaching changes or more, a lot can be decided over the next few months, especially with reports already coming out regarding some big names.

Which rumors should be taken seriously, and which should be ignored? It's time to play fact or fiction with the latest summer rumblings.

 

Caris LeVert Expected to Re-Sign with Cavs

Caris LeVert will be one of the more intriguing unrestricted free agents this summer, given his talent yet inconsistent play throughout his career.

The 28-year-old wing's name popped up in trade talks around the deadline, as his $18.8 million expiring deal seemed like the perfect salary-match to send out in any potential deal.

Still, Cleveland chose to hang on to LeVert, who's split his time almost equally between starter (28 games) and sixth man (29). He's giving the Cavs 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals a night while shooting a career-high 37.6 percent from three.

While LeVert can walk in free agency and could likely find a full-time elsewhere with the Cavs shifting to Isaac Okoro at small forward, Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor writes that the team is, "interested in bringing him back on a multi-year deal -- at the right price" and that "LeVert not returning would be a surprise."

While LeVert is far from a perfect player or fit on this roster that needs three-and-D wings between its talented front and backcourts, the Cavs simply can't let his salary slot go to waste, especially after buying out Kevin Love.

Cleveland is likely going to be over the cap with a max extension for Darius Garland kicking in and won't have the means to go out and sign another player around LeVert's current salary number. According to ProFitX.com, LeVert's fair market value is projected at $21.4 million for next season.

By not trading LeVert at the deadline, the Cavs must feel confident they can re-sign LeVert this summer.

Fact or Fiction: Fact

 

Michael Malone on the Hot Seat for Nuggets with Early Playoff Exit

Michael Malone is in his eighth year as head coach of the Denver Nuggets, is third all-time in franchise career wins and currently has his squad 3.5 games up for first place in the Western Conference.

If the Nuggets get beat early in the West playoffs, however, none of this may matter.

On the The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN's Zach Lowe and DNVR Sports' Adam Mares discussed the pressure on Denver to perform in the postseason. Lowe stated that: "I don't know if it's championship or bust, but if this team loses before the conference finals, it's going to be a disappointment. If they lose in the first round, it's going to be a catastrophe that I think will push some potential changes."

When Mares pointed out that Malone specifically was under a lot of pressure, Lowe acknowledged that this was the change he was alluding to.

Of course, coaches with regular-season success without titles runs to match typically don't have much job security after awhile.

One doesn't even need to go outside of the organization, where George Karl was fired in 2013 after winning Coach of the Year. The same thing happened to Dwane Casey in Toronto when he guided the Raptors to an East-best 59 wins in 2017-18 and COTY honors as well.

Malone is 21-27 in the postseason thus far, with the Nuggets advancing past the second round of the playoffs just once during his tenure.

With so much of the West missing a key player because of injury and Denver sitting comfortably as the No. 1 seed for most of the year, anything less than a trip to the NBA Finals would be a failure of a season.

With a core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon all under contract for the next three seasons or more, it could indeed be Malone who takes the fall for a short postseason run.

Fact or Fiction: Fact