The Cavaliers and power forward Kevin Love are nearing resolution on a contract buyout that will end Love’s tenure with the franchise and send him into free agency, per Shams Charania and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.
Love, 34, has not played in several weeks as Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff has opted to primarily use Dean Wade and Cedi Osman as reserves behind starting big man Evan Mobley.
Love has spent the past nine seasons with the Cavs and is the lone remaining member of the 2016 championship team. He’s set to earn $28.9 million this season, the final of a four-year, $120 million contract extension he signed in 2018.
In 41 appearances, Love is averaging career-lows of 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, shooting 39 percent from the field and 35 percent on 3-pointers.
The Heat are among those interested in Love as a free agent, per Charania and Lloyd. And given Miami’s issues with floor spacing this season, signing Love to a low-risk contract for the veteran’s minimum would indeed make sense.
Sources told Hoops Wire the Warriors, Lakers and Trail Blazers may be other teams with interest.
“The Heat have an open roster spot and have canvassed the market recently for a big man,” Charania and Lloyd wrote. “Miami could offer Love a reserve role with ample minutes behind All-Star Bam Adebayo.”
Love was acquired by the Cavs from the Timberwolves for former No. 1 overall picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. That trade took place in the summer of 2014, when LeBron James returned to the franchise. With Love as the starting power forward, the Cavs advanced to the Finals that season, losing to the Warriors while Love missed the series with an injured shoulder.
The Cavs bounced back the following year to claim the lone title in franchise history and the first of the three major sports in Cleveland since 1964.
Earlier this month, Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman said he did not anticipate buyout talks with Love. Clearly, any such stance has changed from both sides.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love are finalizing a contract buyout, sources tell me and @ByJasonLloyd.
Full details at @TheAthletic, including an Eastern Conference playoff contender expected to emerge as a suitor for Love: https://t.co/oyvrEdjsNe
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 16, 2023
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