Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers officially completed a buyout of his contract on Saturday, making him one of the hottest names on the buyout market for contending teams looking to add cheap talent for a playoff push. Love, a five-time NBA All-Star and NBA champion is averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 20 minutes per game at age 34. This marks the first season of Love’s 15-year career he is averaging single digit scoring numbers, but his veteran savvy, rebounding and floor-spacing (35.4 percent 3-point shooting on 4.8 attempts per game) are valuable skills for a playoff team, especially coming off the bench.
The Philadelphia 76ers were also reported to be in the race to acquire Love, but Miami — who had been reported to have the inside track from the beginning — is the winner. The Heat stand at seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with a 32-27 record, 10 games back of the first-place Boston Celtics and 2.5 games back of the fifth-place Brooklyn Nets. Just last season, the Heat took the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, before losing 100-96. Interestingly enough, there’s a decent chance the Heat meet with the Cavaliers at some point during the playoffs. The Cavaliers sit at fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 38-23 record.
With the announcement of Love’s contract buyout, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman also said the team would one day retire his jersey in Cleveland. Love spent nine seasons with Cleveland, helping to bring the franchise its first and only NBA title in 2016.