Things appeared to have changed quickly for Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
About a week after Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman told reporters he didn’t anticipate discussing a buyout with Love, The Athletic reported that the two sides are nearing the situation.
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Love and the Cavaliers are "finalizing" a buyout agreement in order for the four-time All-Star to seek playing time elsewhere, The Athletic reported Wednesday night. Should the deal get done, the Miami Heat are reportedly expected to be interested in the veteran player to suit up behind Bam Adebayo.
The Cavaliers acquired Love in the summer of 2014 when LeBron James returned to the franchise. The trade helped set up a "Big Three" in Cleveland with Love, James and Kyrie Irving. And through the constant changes and the ups and downs that have come within the organization, Love has remained with the team. His starting minutes diminished but he became a key bench player in the last two years.
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Love has only started seven games in that span but his mentorship has proven to be valuable. He was averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists off the bench. But in recent games, he’s fallen off J.B. Bickerstaff’s rotation. He hasn’t played in the last eight games and was inactive for three games prior to that. He last appeared for the Cavaliers on Jan. 24 against the New York Knicks.
Altman said ahead of the trade deadline there were no discussions about a Love buyout.
"I have not been approached by them at all and I don't anticipate it either," he said. "It's not easy for Kevin, I'm sure. I've had conversations with him. He wants to play. I think he'll have an opportunity to play again this year. But where we're at now, I think [head coach J.B. Bickerstaff] is really comfortable with the rotation that we have."
With the Cavaliers being as successful as they have been this season, Love cannot find his way into the rotation. The recent acquisition of Danny Green would also hamper any playing time as Cedi Osman and Ricky Rubio have also been out with injuries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.