Cavs ‘Discussing’ Ways to Stop Kevin Love from Joining Conference Rival: Report

Kevin Love, New York Knicks

Getty Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers do not appear content letting Kevin Love walk out the door to just any team. After news surfaced Wednesday night that Love had requested a buyout from Cleveland, it didn’t take long for rumored interested teams to begin lining up.

One of those teams, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, is an intra-conference rival: the Miami Heat.

“The Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love are finalizing a contract buyout, with the Miami Heat expected to emerge as a suitor for the five-time All-Star should the sides finalize parting ways, league sources tell The Athletic,” Charania reported.

Love makes sense on a Heat team that could use some depth in the frontcourt. But as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explained, it’s not quite that easy.

“Certainly Miami would be a good fit because they need size and shooting,” Windhorst said on the Dan Patrick Show on February 17. “I don’t know if the Cavs are going to allow that as part of the buyout. That’s part of what I think is under discussion.”

Brian Windhorst on the Dan Patrick Show Full Interview | 02/17/232023-02-17T16:44:03Z

Not only is Miami a conference rival, but the Heat also projects to be a potential playoff opponent for the Cavaliers. Though just seventh in the East, a strong run from the Heat or a dropoff in play from Cleveland could see the two sides meeting as early as the first round of the postseason.

Suns Also Expressing Interest in Love

The Heat aren’t the only would-be contenders interested in landing Love’s signature.

The Phoenix Suns, who just pulled off a blockbuster swap for Kevin Durant — also have Love on their radar, per Windhorst.

“A team in the Western Conference I’d keep an eye out for is the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have been doing some background research into Kevin over the last 24 hours,” Windhorst said. “And don’t forget — James Jones, the team president, was teammates with Kevin Love when they won the championship in 2016 with the Cavs. The new-look Suns have a roster spot, have a bunch of money they can still pay to free agents, so keep an eye on the Suns as a contender for Kevin Love.”

The Suns project to be one of the league’s favorites to win the Finals this season after trading for Durant. With a roster consisting of Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, Phoenix boasts no shortage of All-Star talent, even without adding the five-timer Love.

Cavs Not Thrilled About Love Buyout

Though he’s significantly older than the Cavs’ current corps of youngsters, Love has played a crucial part behind the scenes for Cleveland. One player summed up the situation to Chris Fedor of after news of the buyout went public.

“It just sucks because of who he is, everything he has done for us, and what he means to us,” one player told Fedor on Thursday. “It just sucks. Not having him around will be tough.”

Love’s numbers are down across the board this season. He’s managing just 8.5 points in 20.0 minutes of action this season, both career lows.

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