Lakers Have Chance to Land LeBron’s Former $120 Million All-Star Teammate

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers could have a chance to make a run at LeBron James’ former teammate Kevin Love as the five-time All-Star has agreed to a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Love was in the final months of his four-year, $120 million contract and was initially slated to become a free agent this upcoming offseason.

The veteran had a $28.9 million salary this season but will now sign a more team-friendly deal with a new franchise. If the Lakers have an interest in making a run at Love, the team will have plenty of competition, including fending off the 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 and Jason Lloyd wrote for The Athletic on February 16, 2023.

“…Love, 34, battled through a thumb injury earlier in the season and was removed from the Cavaliers’ rotation in recent weeks, clearing the way for him and the organization to begin discussions on a potential buyout arrangement that allows him to seek a better playing opportunity.

“…Love was acquired by the Cavs in the summer of 2014 shortly after LeBron James returned to Cleveland. James personally called Love and recruited him to join together in Cleveland in pursuit of a championship. Love is the last remaining piece to the Cavs’ 2016 title team. He agreed to a four-year, $120 million extension in the weeks after James left for Los Angeles in 2018.”

Kevin Love: ‘I Feel So Fortunate My Career Intersected With LeBron’s’

Love is far removed from playing at the All-Star level he was at with both the Timberwolves and Cavs. Yet, the big man can still be a contributor on a potential contender adding championship experience to his next team. Love averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 35.4% from long range in 20 minutes per game during 41 appearances with Cleveland this season.

Would Love have an interest in reuniting with James in Los Angeles? Love recently penned a heartfelt message for the Associated Press on his tenure with James in Cleveland emphasizing that he was “so fortunate” to play with the superstar.

“I feel so fortunate my career intersected with LeBron’s,” Love detailed on February 8. “Everybody that he touches, especially if you have that opportunity to be within his orbit or his gravitational pull, whether it’s covering him as a media member or me playing with him in very special years, especially here and because of what he means to Northeast Ohio, that is definitely something that is not lost on me.”

Will the L.A. Lakers Pass on Signing Kevin Love?

According to Charania, the Heat are in the driver’s seat to land Love, meaning the Lakers would need to act quickly in order to have a chance at the big man. Would the Lakers want to make a run at Love or prefer to stick with their new-look roster?

Los Angeles traded away Thomas Bryant in large part because of the new-found frontcourt depth the team has following their recent deals. The Lakers may prefer to develop young players like Mo Bamba and Jarred Vanderbilt instead of bringing Love to Hollywood. James’ presence on the Lakers makes L.A. a logical potential landing spot for Love, but it will require general manager Rob Pelinka to make a move before the former All-Star signs with Miami or another contender.

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Eric Sliva
Eric Sliva
7 months ago

this is a no brainer if i was the lakers gm…i would be on the phone with loves agent right now and even getting james to call his buddy love personally to help get him to sign with the team…because without bryant now and having that 15th final roster spot open love can be the perfect backup to james and be that very needed veteran player leadership to the young laker bench….and with james needing more down time in games the rest of the way…love makes him that perfect player to take up that time…and he besides playing power can be the lakers small ball center as well…and with him still shooting over 35% from three and still a good rebounder like i said hes perfect for the job…specially since he be doing what he did in cleveland when he was used there for those on the bench here…plus he gives the lakers what they been needing all season long and thats more size since they only have 1 center and 5 forwards to go with their 8 guards…and think just how deep the lakers bench would then be with love on it…bamba/love/vanderbuilt/beasley/walker and reaves with gabriel and brown being decided by coach ham to be that 12th man depending upon who they are playing each game….thats 13 players with christie and reed in reserve for them then….while they run with davis/james/hachimura/russell and schroder as the starters….by adding love they would make the playoffs outright and actually advance to the finals in the west…baring injuries to davis and james…this team would be as deep as their last title winning team actually…but actually even younger then that team was….since this team would only then have james and love who are over 30 years old on it…thus like i stated the added veteran championship leadership presence he would bring to the bench squad…so get it done now rob! or else i say can him jeanie….because its been him whos kept this team down the past three years actually….