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FutureStarrKevin Love to Be Released From Cavaliers Contract
After nine seasons in Cleveland, Kevin Love is set to become a free agent. He's in the final year of his $120 million contract and doesn't feel he is getting enough playing time.
He has officially requested to be purchased out. Before making a final decision, teams including the Cavaliers and other contenders are expected to have discussions with him.
On Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that they had agreed to buy out Kevin Love, ending his nine-year veteran tenure in their organization. With this deal completed, Love will become a free agent upon clearing waivers; Miami Heat are expected to be among potential suitors should Love opt to move on.
Due to his diminishing role with the Cavaliers, Love had requested a contract buyout earlier this week. As such, he will now take home an impressive pay cut and the team saves some cash in the process.
Love's request was likely driven by his desire to play more and not due to any injury concerns. This season, Love has averaged only 20 minutes per game, a marked decrease from his 26-minute average in Cleveland's first three games of the year.
At 34 years old, he still has plenty to offer in terms of scoring and rebounding as well as an impressive shooting ability. Additionally, he's helped USA Basketball earn two Olympic gold medals and a FIBA World Cup title.
No matter where Love ends up, the Cavaliers organization will miss him. He was an integral part of their 2016 championship team but hasn't quite replicated that success since.
Love has also spent time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. He was an integral part of both of Cavs' NBA Finals runs in 2014 and 2016, culminating in their victories alongside LeBron James.
With this being his final year with the Cavaliers, it is only fair that he be treated fairly and given an opportunity to find another team. Whichever side purchases him out will have the final say as to whether they want to give him a significant pay cut or keep him on their roster.
The Miami Heat, who are in the midst of their rebuilding process, may be interested in signing Love as they need a power forward with experience and the capacity to shoot from beyond the arc. In conclusion, Love could serve as an invaluable bench player for any contender that signs him.
Love has been with the Cavaliers organization since 2014 and was an integral part of their championship team in 2016. He's appeared in 63 playoff games this season, averaging 15.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Additionally, Love is renowned for his rebounding and outlet passing abilities; these skills have been key components to Cleveland's success this season with a shortened rotation.
Love has had difficulty finding his rhythm this season, yet remains the team's top offensive option in the post. Unfortunately, an injury to Love's thumb in November has hindered his effectiveness.
According to The Athletic, Love and the Cavaliers have reached an agreement on a contract buyout that will enable him to become a free agent on March 1. As of Saturday morning (AEDT), Miami Heat were leading the pack in terms of teams interested in signing him.
ESPN reports that the 76ers are also considering signing McClung. With so much depth in their frontcourt, including Joel Embiid and James Harden, McClung could potentially fill a role on that roster.
He's a good shot blocker and has played an extensive amount of ball this season, yet his shooting has been less efficient than in past seasons. His three-point percentage has dropped drastically and his overall shooting has fallen below 50%.
It appears Love is ready to take a step back and see what else is out there, which could be good news for the Cavaliers. They have an opening on their roster and are close to reaching the luxury tax line, so they could use that money to sign another player who will bolster their rotation.
Cleveland may want to consider acquiring a young frontcourt player such as Philadelphia 76ers' Shabazz Muhammad or Memphis Grizzlies' Marvin Bagley III and giving them some extra minutes. Doing so would strengthen Cleveland's rotation and give them depth in the backcourt.
The Cavaliers boast a veteran in their rotation, but there are plenty of young players on the roster who can help them develop. If the Cavs can fill out their roster in time, it's likely they will keep their core together.
A contract buyout is an effective way for teams to release a player's salary in order to create roster space. Furthermore, it gives teams the flexibility when signing players who aren't subject to the luxury tax.
The Miami Heat are one of the teams that may benefit from Kevin Love's buyout clause in his contract. After trading Dewayne Dedmon to San Antonio Spurs earlier this month, Miami needs a big man and Love is considered a prime candidate to join them once he signs a buyout agreement.
Love is currently averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season, but his performance has significantly waned in the past couple of weeks. As such, Love's presence on the court has become a major cause for concern for the Cavaliers coaching staff.
Due to this, the Cavaliers have been looking for a way to avoid paying Love's salary. The Miami Heat have several open spots on their roster and could use Love as an experienced big man who can assist their younger players.
Miami Heat would certainly benefit by adding Love, who is one of the best rebounders in the NBA and known for his impressive shooting percentage from deep. He would certainly make a significant improvement to their lineup.
He could also give the Heat an edge on defense. Though they have a formidable front line in Bam Adebayo and Udonis Haslem, neither player is as efficient nor sound defensively as Love.
The Heat could use the experience of a veteran like Love as they attempt to rebuild their team. He can bring an experienced presence into both the locker room and on the court, improving their roster's quality.
Furthermore, he would help the Heat by adding to their bench depth that has been lacking this season. At present, Miami sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with only 29-29 records and faces an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
The Cavaliers and Miami Heat have been reported to be discussing a buyout with Love. With up to two spots available in the buyout market, Miami is expected to be among the favorites to sign him once he clears waivers.
If the Cavaliers decide to purchase Love out, he can sign with another team that hopes for championship success. Reports indicate that Miami Heat have expressed interest in signing five-time All-Star.
Love has been an invaluable player and part of Cleveland's success for several seasons, yet his minutes have decreased drastically over the last four years. This season, his 8.5 points per game average is his lowest since 2014 when he first joined the Cavaliers.
Given the Cavaliers have so many young players on their roster, it is unlikely he will see significant minutes next year. They could also opt to trade him away in the summer.
The buyout would allow Love to take a significant pay cut and potentially play for an NBA title contender in the future. Furthermore, it would give the Cavaliers an open roster spot as they build towards their future success.
But it also means Love's trade value has significantly declined. He could be worth more to other teams if he can reduce his playing time and provide more off-the-ball support.
If Love is willing to accept this reduced role, it could be beneficial for both sides. For Love, it would be an opportunity to prove he can still contribute more minutes than what he had with the Cavaliers in the future.
However, it will be challenging for the Cavaliers to offload Love's contract this summer without giving up an important asset in return. Jason Lloyd of The Athletic noted earlier this month that they likely wouldn't be able to convince a championship-contending team to take on Love's contract without receiving some valuable trade assets in return.
However, if Love continues to contribute as much off the bench as he has throughout his career, he could end up as one of the most versatile big men in the league when he departs Cleveland next season. That would certainly be an asset for the Cavaliers, who could use Love's versatility on both ends of the floor.