But after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted on Saturday that the Cavaliers were acquiring Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen in a three-way sign and trade with the Portland Trailblazers, it seems imminent that Cleveland will agree to buyout Kevin Love‘s contract, as they just inked a new starting power forward. (Makkanen, 24, signed a four-year $64 million deal.)
But where will the five-time All-Star go?
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If Cleveland does a buyout with Love, the Heat would be a top candidate to land the veteran forward. If Love is willing to sign a veteran’s minimum contract with Miami, it would put the Heat over the salary cap, but they would still avoid the ominous luxury tax since veteran’s minimums are considered an exception.
Obtaining Love comes with a risk, as he’s extremely injury-prone. But on a veteran’s minimum contract, it’s a gamble the Heat can afford. Miami made a similar decision when they re-signed the oft-injured Victor Oladipo for the 2021 season.
Love suited up for just 103 out of 219 possible games since LeBron James departed the team in 2018. Due to injuries, Love played in only 25 games with the Cavaliers last season. However, there’s still a lot of life in the 13-year NBA veteran. During his last game with the Cavaliers on May 12, Love scored 30 points in 34 minutes of play against the Boston Celtics.
Cleveland Would Pay $70 Million to Buyout Love
While it sounds crazy to buyout a player for $70 million, it seems like Cleveland is ready to cut their losses. As for Love, who’s played with the Cavaliers for seven seasons, he appears more than ready to play elsewhere.
Miami will face competition for Love should he become available, and rumors swirling around on Twitter have him reuniting with James, and joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Love also has formed relationships with Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony, as they all played together at the 2012 Olympics.
Miami Heat’s 2021-22 NBA Roster So Far
While the Heat said goodbye to Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, Andre Iguodala, and Nemanja Bjelica, the team also lost Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Lowry to Miami.
While the Heat can add a 15th player, per NBA rules, such is not required. Since Miami played the bulk of the 2020 season with 14 players, it seemed likely that they would continue to keep that roster size moving forward. However, if Love gets a buyout, the 6-foot-8 forward-center could be great insurance coming off the bench.
As of August 27, the following 14 players are locked in for the Heat’s 2021-22 NBA season:
Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, KZ Okapala, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Omer Yurtseven.