Kevin Love Expected to Again be in Mix to Start for Heat

The Heat are all in when it comes to trying to land Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who is very clearly seeking a trade to Miami — and only Miami.Kevin Love

But the Heat also have to focus on the players currently on the roster. One of them is power forward Kevin Love, who just happens to be a product of Lake Oswego, about a 15-minute drive from Portland.

Anyway, Love finished the season with the Heat after a buyout agreement with the Cavaliers in February, and was a part of the NBA’s most pleasant surprise — with the Heat advancing to the Finals all the way from the play-in tournament.

Love has made the playoffs five times, and each time his team has reached the Finals. He received a one-year contract from Miami after the season.

So, where does he stand now?

Well, he again could sometimes start at power forward, sometimes come off the bench, depending on circumstance, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“It possibly could wind up like during the playoffs, where it’s situational, with Kevin Love starting against bigger front lines and Caleb Martin starting against small-ball alignments,” Winderman wrote of Love’s role in his latest mailbag. “But Erik Spoelstra has shown during the regular season that lineup continuity is the preference. Still, several factors could come into play.

“Foremost, if Jimmy Butler misses the expected 20 or so games, then Caleb could be the option to start at small forward (if it’s not Josh Richardson). And I also could envision Spoelstra toying with Love as his backup center, which could reduce the chance of Kevin starting. Still lots of moving parts, and lots of time before a decision is needed. Heck, Haywood Highsmith could potentially also enter the equation at power forward.”

In other words, who starts at power forward might not be determined until after training camp. But Love is expected to again be in the mix.

For the record, Love averaged 8.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 62 games, 21 of which came with the Heat. He started 18 of 20 playoff games, averaging 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds, shooting 37 percent on 3-pointers.

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