Following Kevin Love’s buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, the forward-center intends to sign with the Miami Heat after he clears waivers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This news comes after Love reportedly planned to meet with the Philadelphia 76ers, something that appears to no longer be in his plans.
The signing itself isn’t unexpected, but it comes at some surprise considering the reports that Love wanted to speak with the Philadelphia 76ers front office before making a decision. While the Heat were quickly seen as frontrunners, the Sixers’ interest generated significant excitement amongst Philadelphia fans, particularly as the team has long struggled with the backup center position. At 6’10”, Love’s rebounding abilities posed a significant advantage to a team that struggles mightily with rim protection and blown leads when MVP-caliber starting center Joel Embiid is off the court.
Yet at 34 years old, Love’s athleticism isn’t what it once was, and the 76ers already have a bouncy big man in Paul Reed and a passable scorer in Montrezl Harrell. And for better or worse, the Sixers just days ago signed another backup big on the buyout market in Dewayne Dedmon.
With the Philadelphia 76ers, K-Love’s role would more likely than be playing at the 4, but with Georges Niang already filling that role, it could have been a clunky fit. Love fills a much clearer need in Miami, where his size is a clear gap in the roster. Love will almost certainly receive more minutes in Miami without having to fight for a roster spot.
With a record of 32-27, Miami is currently seventh in the East, and the addition of Love is expected to “play a sizeable role in the Heat’s frontcourt rotation as they push into the Eastern Conference Playoffs,” per a tweet from Wojnarowski.
This will be Love’s third franchise in his 15 years in the NBA. Before joining the Cavs in 2014, Love spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.