Report: Kevin Love will 'talk' to 76ers after Cavaliers buyout complete; Heat remain favorites
Miami is the reported favorite to land the 15-year veteran now that his buyout is complete
Kevin Love’s time in Cleveland appears to be over. Now, the NBA veteran will explore potential landing spots.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jason Lloyd reported Wednesday that The Cavaliers and Love were finalizing a contract buyout after Love was pulled from the Cavaliers’ rotation in recent weeks.
Now the buyout is complete and the Miami Heat remain a frontrunner to sign Love. However, he plans to talk to the Philadelphia 76ers before making a decision, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 34-year-old addressed fans via Twitter on Saturday.
I’ll have more to say soon but want to get this off my chest.
To the people of Cleveland and all of Ohio. I fucking LOVE you…and always will. Thank you for everything.
More to come. #0️⃣
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) February 18, 2023
Love has appeared in 41 games this season, though he has started in only three and averaged just 20 minutes per game, a career low. He has averaged a career-worst 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, too.
Love dealt with a thumb injury earlier this season and hasn’t played since the Cavaliers’ loss to the New York Knicks on Jan. 24. The Cavaliers have won nine of 12 games since Love was sidelined and enter the All-Star break with a 38-23 record, fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Coach J.B Bickerstaff has opted to stick with a smaller rotation, and Love has essentially been the one left out.
"It's a conversation that we've had with him, just trying to figure out what's the right thing to do," Bickerstaff said of Love earlier this month via the Akron Beacon Journal. "We tried the small minutes, but to get guys burn, I just didn't like the way that it looked, and guys couldn't catch a rhythm. So trying to give guys both minutes to see if they can catch a rhythm and get the groups can catch a rhythm. And then we'll figure out the best pieces around it."
Love could be a good piece for the Heat the rest of the season. Miami, which holds a 32-27 record and is seventh in the East entering the All-Star break, has an open spot on its roster and has been searching for a big man, per The Athletic. A veteran presence such as Love could be what the Heat need to get out of the play-in spot in the East and make a push in the second half of the season.
If a deal is finalized, the Heat will be the third team for Love in his 15-year career. He spent the first six years with the Minnesota Timberwolves after being selected No. 5 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies and then made the jump to Cleveland in 2014. The five-time All-Star won a title alongside LeBron James in 2016 and was the league’s Most Improved Player in the 2010-11 season.
In total, Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds in 853 career games. This was the final year of his four-year, $120.4 million deal with Cleveland.