(WJW/AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers have confirmed what ESPN sources first reported: Kevin Love and the Cavs have completed a contract buyout.
The 34-year-old further confirmed his time with the city of Cleveland is fleeting taking to Instagram stories Saturday afternoon, sharing a photo of him with the 2016 championship trophy.
“My love for the city of Cleveland is forever in my heart and soul,” he wrote. “We brought it home. More to say soon but just know I LOVE you Cleveland, Ohio.”
The Cavaliers sent out a statement following Love’s messages, thanking him for his time with the team.
Kevin Love had an outstanding run with the Cavaliers, including memorable on-court moments, four NBA Finals appearances and an NBA Championship in 2016,” Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said in a statement. “ … He also embodied everything a franchise would want in a player, and the admiration and gratitude we have for him will ultimately land his jersey in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.”
The 15-year veteran has spent the past nine seasons with the Cavaliers, including in 2016 when the Lebron James’ Cavs won their first NBA Championship.
This season, he’s averaging career-lows of 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 20 minutes per game. But over parts of 15 NBA seasons with Cleveland and Minnesota, Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds. He’s also a 37% career shooter from 3-point range, and helped USA Basketball win both Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold medals.
A tweet from ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski says the Miami Heat are a frontrunner to sign Love, but he plans to talk to the Philadelphia 76ers before making a decision.
Love is in the final year of a $120 million, four-year extension he signed in 2018. He did not play in any of Cleveland’s last 12 games before the All-Star break and his representatives approached the Cavaliers about the buyout.
Miami created the flexibility to absorb at least one player in a buyout situation by trading away Dewayne Dedmon to San Antonio earlier this month in exchange for cash considerations. That essentially opened a roster spot for at least one move.
Cleveland entered the break fourth in the Eastern Conference at 38-23. Miami is seventh in the East at 32-27, a half-game behind No. 6 New York.