Heat, 76ers Eye Kevin Love After Buyout with Cavs

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Posted on: February 18, 2023, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: February 18, 2023, 04:05h.

The Cleveland Cavs and power forward Kevin Love will finally part ways after both parties agreed to a contract buyout. The Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat are the leading contenders to sign Love for the final stretch of the season.

Kevin Love Cleveland Cavs contract buyout Miami Heat 76ers
Forward Kevin Love, seen here celebrating a 3-point shot with the Cleveland Cavs, was the last remaining player on the Cavs from the team that won the 2015-16 NBA championship. (Image: AP)

With the NBA trade deadline in the past and the All-Star Weekend upon us, it’s time for veterans to work out contract buyouts, so they can latch onto another team for the final quarter of the season. Love was one of the biggest names in buyout talks, along with point guards Russell Westbrook (Utah Jazz) and Derrick Rose (New York Knicks).

Love, a 15-year veteran and five-time NBA All-Star, earned $31.1 million this season in the final year of his contract. He will have to clear waivers before he signs with a new team.

The Cavs are 38-23 and currently occupy the #4 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs are +1100 odds to win the conference and advance to the NBA Finals. You can back the Cavs at +3000 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship.

Cleveland Love Story

Love played college ball at UCLA and was a consensus All-American during a one-and-done season in Westwood. He decided to go pro after his freshman season, in which he led UCLA to a trip to the 2008 Final Four.

The Memphis Grizzlies selected Love with the #5 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. They traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in an eight player swap that also involved OJ Mayo and Antoine Walker.

Love thrived with the Timberwolves as a three-time All-Star. He  averaged 26 points per game in two of his six seasons in Minneapolis.

Prior to the 2014-25 season, the Timberwolves traded Love to the Cleveland Cavs in a three-team trade that also involved the Philadelphia 76ers. Andrew Wiggins, the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, went from the Cavs to the Timberwolves as part of the Love trade.

Love was named to two more All-Star squads while playing with the Cavs, but he modified his playing style to fit in with Lebron James upon his return to Cleveland. Love won a championship with James, and helped the city of Cleveland finally claim a major pro championship. He was an integral part of the Cavs’ squad that defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.

76ers and Heat Eye Love to Bolster Postseason Roster

After spending the first 13 seasons of his career as a starter, Love came off the bench in the last two seasons with the Cavs. As the sixth man last season, he averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 39.2% from 3-point range.

Love saw his role seriously diminish in the 2022-23 season. He was a part of the second unit, but did not factor much into the Cavs’ offense. He averaged a career-low 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in only 20 minutes of floor time per game.

Both the 76ers and Heat seek an experienced veteran like Love to bolster their frontline for a postseason run. Love is a former NBA champion who made numerous sacrifices to help the Cavs win a title.

Love is primarily a power forward, but can play center for short spurts if teams opt for a smaller lineup. Although he’s in the twilight of his career at age 34, he’s a savvy veteran and a career 37.2% 3-point shooter than can provide offense off the bench.

The Heat have the inside track to adding Love. They dd not make any major moves at the trade deadline, but they’re looking to upgrade their bench in the buyout market. The Heat (32-27) are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and would be headed to the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today. They are +8000 odds to win the NBA championship, and +1500 odds to win the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers (38-19) occupy third place in the Eastern Conference, but they’re only three games behind the fist-place Boston Celtics (42-17). The 76ers are +1100 odds to win the NBA championship, and +500 odds to win the Eastern conference and advance to the 2023 NBA Finals.

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