UPDATE: The buyout with the Cavaliers is complete and the Heat likely will sign Love now, but he is going to talk to the 76ers first, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The stacked 76ers can offer minutes behind P.J. Tucker at the four, but it would be a limited role compared to what Miami can offer.
Also, the Heat have part of their mid-level exception left as well as their bi-annual exception, they can offer more money than the 76ers or other teams.
Kevin Love wants playing time, a defined role and a chance to contribute. He wasn’t getting that in Cleveland, where he had fallen out of the rotation and been on the bench the last 12 games, so he asked for a buyout from the Cavaliers.
The Miami Heat can offer that, which is why they have become the frontrunners to land Love, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Miami Heat have emerged as leaders to sign five-time All-Star Kevin Love after he completes buyout with Cleveland, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Interested teams believe Miami's ability to offer a defined role and playoff positioning are leading factors.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 18, 2023
Miami has started Caleb Martin at the four much of the season, and while he has put out his best effort they have missed what P.J. Tucker gave them the season before. Behind Martin has been a rotating group of players as Erik Spoelstra looks for something that works — rookie Nikola Jovic (out with a stress reaction in his back), Max Strus, and Haywood Highsmith have all got time.
Love would have an instant role and minutes, maybe coming off the bench at first, but moving into the starting lineup is not hard to envision.
There are other teams interested. The Suns would likely have a role for him off the bench, and the Lakers and Warriors have also been mentioned (although the roles with them are tougher to define).
Miami likely makes the most sense, but Cleveland will not like it — the Heat are a potential playoff matchup with the Cavaliers.
Expect this deal to get done by the time the All-Star break ends.