East Rival Could Block Heat From Signing Kevin Love: Report

Kevin Love Heat-Cavs

Getty Kevin Love reacts during a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat.

Kevin Love is on the verge of completing a contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which will free him up to go sign with another contender or a team with which he’ll have access to steady minutes and a featured role. And the Miami Heat are in a unique position to offer him all of the above.

So, it comes as no surprise the Heat appear to be in the driver’s seat where securing Love’s services is concerned. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Heat have “emerged as leaders” to ink the five-time NBA All-Star once he’s free of the Cavs.

It’s not difficult to envision him coming to South Beach and creating oodles of space offensively with his three-point shooting (he’s a career 37.2% marksman from deep) and cleaning the glass at a high level (he’s at 12.3 rebounds per 36 minutes this season) as Bam Adebayo’s partner-in-the-pivot, either.

However, another league insider has noted that Love is still considering a move to one of Miami’s Eastern Cofnerence rivals, too.

Woj: Kevin Love Will Also Talk to the Sixers Before Deciding His Next Move

VideoVideo related to east rival could block heat from signing kevin love: report2023-02-18T16:05:51-05:00

Per a Saturday tweet from ESPN’s league insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the 34-year-old Love “plans to talk to the Philadelphia 76ers before making a decision” on where he’ll finish the season. Whether or not the Sixers and Love are as strong of a match for each other is up for debate, though.

Is he, just as an example, a better floor-spacer than Georges Niang at this point? For the year, Niang has connected from deep at a 40.9% clip. There’s also the fact that Philly just filled its last open roster spot by signing former Heat center Dewayne Dedmon.

Would Philly president Daryl Morey turn around and cut Dedmon to make room for Love? Would he cut a youngster like Paul Reed who some still believe can be a versatile defender in the Association? And even if he did clear a spot, would Love get the minutes he wants in Philly?

In any event, the Sixers have at least one thing working in their favor, if we’re being honest — they appear to be closer to the chip than the Heat right now with their 38-19 record and favorable position in the East’s current pecking order.

After a Strong 2021-22, Love Had Fallen Off in Cleveland

Love experienced something of a renaissance with the Cavs last season, finishing second to Heat star Tyler Herro in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. The big man put himself in that position by averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 boards while shooting 39.2% from deep for an upstart Cleveland team.

The expectation was probably that he’d continue to play an important role after the Cavs went out and got Donovan Mitchell during the offseason in an effort to insert itself into the title conversation. At this point in his career, though, Love’s value is largely tied to his shooting ability, and he has struggled in that department in 2022-23.

For the year, he’s shooting just 38.9% from the floor — his lowest conversion rate in years. Meanwhile, he’s at a middling 35.4% from deep. As a result, he’s averaging a career-low 8.5 points per game.

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