An attractive option at forward for the Miami Heat has just been bought out, and it’s likely Miami will make a move to acquire him soon.
“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,” Jason Lloyd and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported late on February 15.
“The Heat have an open roster spot and have canvassed the market recently for a big man, sources said. Miami could offer Love a reserve role with ample minutes behind All-Star Bam Adebayo,” Lloyd and Charania added.
The sharp-shooting veteran hits the market at an opportune time for the Heat, who are expected to be a top landing spot.
Heat Would Be Perfect Landing Spot for Kevin Love
A five-time All-Star, Love is in his 15th season in the league, the bulk of which he has spent with the Cavs. A fifth-overall pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008, Love spent his first six seasons in Minnesota before heading to Cleveland, where he was an integral part of the Cavs’ 2016 championship squad.
The 34-year-old big man has played both center and power forward over his career, and his ability to hit shots from beyond the arc (he’s a career 37.2% three-point shooter) coupled with his ability to clean up defensive boards make him an ideal target for the Heat. Miami has been looking for someone to relieve Adebayo, as rookie Orlando Robinson and rising star Omer Yurtseven have both been hampered by injuries.
Love, who is averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 20.0 minutes per game (all stats via Basketball Reference), also has 62 postseason starts over his career, so he could be a big asset for the Heat when the playoffs roll around.
Heat ‘Prioritizing Something Big,’ Per Insider
Several players have been linked to the Heat on the buyout market, including future Hall of Famer Russell Westbrook, veteran center Serge Ibaka and point guard Patrick Beverley. Love may have just surpassed them all in terms of Miami’s priorities.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweeted on February 16 that the “Heat are prioritizing something big over Westbrook or Beverley, after examining those options. So Love or Ibaka appear to be priorities. As of now.”
The Heat are currently 32-27 and sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind the New York Knicks (33-27). Miami’s next game is after the All-Star break, when it takes on the second-place Milwaukee Bucks on February 24. The Heat are set to play a combined eight games against the Knicks, Cavs and Philadelphia 76ers, who are all ahead of Miami in the standings, so it’s going to be a pivotal stretch for the squad over the next few months.
Adding a player with Love’s skill set and experience could only give Miami a boost, particularly on offense. Love isn’t the All-Star caliber player he once was, but he’s still an effective enough contributor to be a difference-maker. Don’t be surprised if he takes his talents to South Beach soon.