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Kevin Love Is a Free Agent After His Buyout With the Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Love Is a Free Agent After His Buyout With the Cleveland Cavaliers

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Kevin Love is a former first-team All-American and Pac-12 player of the year, an integral part of Cleveland Cavaliers' 2016 championship run. A skilled shot maker who can spread the floor in a three-point offense, Love has achieved great success over his career.

Love is in the final stages of his buyout with the Cavaliers and is searching for a new team that can give him more minutes. Reports indicate that teams such as Lakers, Suns, Knicks and Heat are interested in him.

Los Angeles

Love is believed to be in the final stages of his Cleveland Cavaliers contract buyout, and now the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in adding him to their roster. This season, they've made several moves for depth and winning games; trading for Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Thomas Bryant and Juan Toscano-Anderson while adding point guard D'Angelo Russell and center Mo Bamba as well.

The veteran big man may not be the same force he was when playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland, but he still possesses some valuable skills that will allow him to thrive on a team like Los Angeles. He can grab rebounds, throw outlet passes and hit 3-pointers with ease.

This year, Love has averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 35.4 percent from downtown. He's a five-time All-Star who has improved from last year, though his shooting isn't quite at its previous efficiency level.

Additionally, he's dealing with a thumb injury that has forced him to drastically reduce his playing time. As such, his production has dropped off to career lows in points and rebounds.

Though this may not be Love's ideal situation, he could use this as an opportunity to prove he can play in the NBA again, especially with LeBron James in town. Joining forces with James would give them two potential starting forwards which could boost their chances of success this season.

Despite his injuries, he remains a capable defender and could see plenty of minutes if the Lakers experiment with different lineups this season. Additionally, he's an effective shooter and distributor off the ball.

Another consideration is his potential as a reserve in small-ball or double-team schemes. With his high intelligence, it may be possible for him to learn the system quickly and make an impact within a short amount of time.

Although the Heat have made some impressive moves this season, they still lack a true three-point threat and require an experienced center to stay competitive against other teams' frontcourts. Acquiring Love on a budget would be a wise move for Miami.

Cleveland

Kevin Love was an integral part of Cleveland's 2016 championship team as the last remaining link from LeBron James' championship squad. He played an integral role in helping lead Cleveland to victory and also appeared in 63 postseason games. A five-time All-Star, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team member and winner of the NBA Most Improved Player award, Kevin has achieved great success since then.

In his nine seasons with the Cavaliers, he's earned two Gold Medals for the United States national team and been selected to two All-Star teams. As a top three-point shooter with career averages of 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, he has become an invaluable leader both on and off the court.

He's a beloved figure in Cleveland and even after being traded to Minnesota in 2014, he continued to be an integral part of their rebuild process. Despite being frustrated with losing many games early on, he made significant strides during the initial years as the Cavs started winning again.

It has been a difficult relationship for years, but things have finally begun to come together in recent months. The Cavs have won more playoff series and are entering a new era of contention.

While it's sad to see the last link of the 2016 championship team depart, there remains hope for a brighter future. At 34 years old, he remains an outstanding basketball player who could become an impact player for an excellent team in the future.

I've had the chance to speak with him several times and it's obvious that he remains passionate about playing for our organization. He wants to make a difference and leave an imprint on everyone around him.

I believe it's fair to say he has become one of Cleveland's greatest teammates ever. His leadership skillset has always been impressive, but in recent years his team-first approach has helped the organization take a turn for the better.

He's a legend in Cleveland and likely a future Hall of Famer, but at some point he needs to move on. That's how it goes in the NBA, so Cleveland should allow him to do just that.

Miami

Kevin Love is expected to become a free agent after his buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers is completed, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Although several teams have expressed an interest in signing him, Shams Charania believes that Miami Heat are leading contenders to sign him.

Over the summer, Miami Heat lost PJ Tucker at number four. But Love still provides a floor-spacing threat who could also serve as a connective passer in Tom Thibodeau's drive-and-kick system. Furthermore, Love is an elite 3-point shooter who can add some much needed flair in the final third of games.

Love has averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 41 games this season, shooting 35.4 percent from beyond the arc on 4.8 attempts per game. His career mark from deep is 37.3 percent, though he did experience a thumb injury earlier in the year.

He's a veteran player who is comfortable in pivotal late-round playoff games. Additionally, his expertise with the system Tyronn Lue employs makes him an invaluable asset to Cleveland.

His versatility makes him a valuable addition to the bench. As either Dwyane Wade's backup or Goran Dragic's, he can step in when those players are injured.

The 34-year-old has earned a reputation for playing key minutes when the team is away from home. That makes him an ideal fit for the Heat, who entered the All-Star break in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and one half game behind New York for sixth place.

Additionally, Miami has the flexibility to absorb at least one player through a buyout situation after acquiring Dewayne Dedmon from San Antonio last month. This opened up a roster spot and allowed Miami to offer Love the playing time he desires while using only minimal amount of cap space.

If the Heat can provide Love with a clear role and playoff positioning, then he's likely to sign on. However, the Cavaliers may be less willing to let him join an Eastern Conference rival in exchange for such benefits.

Portland

Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers waived veteran power forward Kevin Love and it appears he will seek a new team for his next contract. According to reports, several teams are interested in him including the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst on The Dan Patrick Show Friday mentioned one of Love's priorities when moving: playing time. After being mostly inactive this season with the Cavaliers, Love has been striving to get back into the lineup, averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 35.4% from three this season.

Though they are currently winless, Brandon Ingram could help his team with size and space on the court if Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury soon. Additionally, his rebounding would be a huge asset to Portland which currently ranks 25th in rebounding.

He'd fit perfectly in Milwaukee, playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and covering for him on the defensive end. Additionally, he would make an excellent backup center and his shooting (28th in NBA 3-pointers) would be invaluable assets.

The Lakers, with a lot of big men in their frontcourt, could use an experienced center. He may not cause as much havoc on defense but he would provide solid depth and an opportunity to win a championship with LeBron James.

James first called Love to Cleveland in 2014 and recruited him to Cleveland; their relationship blossomed during their 2016 championship run together, so it seems likely Love would welcome another opportunity to collaborate with him again in the future.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area noted earlier this month that Love's rebounding, shooting and passing skills make him a perfect fit for the Warriors' system; however their primary issue at present appears to be an absence of "collective will" on defense.

No matter where Love ends up, his career is likely over. The Cavaliers are in negotiations with Love to see if he will accept a buyout, which means the 30-year-old free to sign with any team of his choosing. Reports indicate that numerous teams are interested in him, and Love will make his decision based on playing time.

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