Heat to Sign Ex-No. 4 Overall Pick to Frontcourt Along with Kevin Love: Report

Cody Zeller defends Russell Westbrook. Zeller reportedly has agreed to join the Miami Heat.

Getty Cody Zeller defends Russell Westbrook. Zeller reportedly has agreed to join the Miami Heat.

February 19 was a busy Sunday for the Miami Heat. Miami reportedly worked to add two big men to their roster, agreeing to sign both Cody Zeller, and Kevin Love.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnorowski broke the news that the Heat were planning to sign the former No. 4 overall pick.

“The Heat are planning to also sign free agent center Cody Zeller on Monday, as Tim Reynolds reports,” he tweeted.

As Woj said, the signing will not be official until February 20.

Zeller last suited up for the Portland Trailblazers during the 2021-22 season. Over his 27 appearances, he averaged 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game.

Love Clears Waivers, Plans to Join Heat: Report

The news of Miami signing of Zeller came just a half hour after the news of Love.

Wojnorowski reported just before noon that he had cleared waivers and plans to sign with the Heat.

“After clearing waivers, Kevin Love plans to sign with the Miami Heat, his agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Basketball tells ESPN,” Woj reported in a tweet.

He added that Love was intrigued by a larger role with Miami, compared to what he may have gotten if he signed elsewhere.

“Love’s expectation is that he can play a sizable role in the Heat’s frontcourt rotation as they push into the Eastern Conference playoffs. Love also talked with the Philadelphia 76ers,” Woj wrote.

Love played in 41 games for Cleveland this season, before he fell out of the rotation in recent weeks. He averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 20 minutes per game. On the year, Love has shot 38.9% from the field and 35.4% from beyond the arc.

Reports of Love’s interest in joining the Heat had been trickling out over the course of the last week.

On Saturday, February 18, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Heat were the “leaders” in the race to sign Love, after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“The Miami Heat have emerged as leaders to sign five-time All-Star Kevin Love after he completes buyout with Cleveland, league sources tell The Athletic,” Charania tweeted. “Interested teams believe Miami’s ability to offer a defined role and playoff positioning are leading factors.”

Back on February 16, Charania originally broke the news that Love was finalizing a contract buyout with the Cavs.

In the initial report, he labeled the Heat as suitors to land the five time All-Star.

“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 wrote.

Russell Westbrook and Heat Have Been in Contact: Report

Love reportedly was not the only buyout candidate that Miami had shown interest in.

Russell Westbrook, his UCLA teammate has also been linked to the Heat. Westbrook, a former MVP, was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz ahead of the deadline. Since arriving in Utah, there’s been speculation that he’ll be bought out of his contract, though nothing has happened yet.

Wojnorowski recently reported that Miami is one of the teams that have been in contact with Westbrook.

“I’m told that Russell Westbrook has permission from the Jazz to go out and explore with potential buyout teams a role elsewhere that might fit,” Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown. “He and his agent Jeff Schwartz have been spending this week doing that… Among the teams that they’ve communicated with: the (Chicago) Bulls, the (Los Angeles) Clippers, the (Washington) Wizards, the Miami Heat.”

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