AP – Kevin Love wasted no time. He’s officially a member of the Miami Heat.
The five-time All-Star and 15-year NBA veteran cleared waivers yesterday, then signed a contract to join the Heat for the remainder of the season not long afterward. The now-former Cleveland forward was in Miami for the signing, with plans to start working out at his new team facility right away.
Love’s first official practice with Miami is scheduled for Friday when the team returns from its All-Star break, and he could make his Heat debut as early as Saturday at Milwaukee.
Love is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and a FIBA World Cup champion. He’s 42nd on the NBA’s three-pointers made list with 1,536, which ranks 19th among players currently in the league.
Heat centre Bam Adebayo – who was hoping Love would come to Miami if the Cavaliers bought him out – said he planned to call coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday to start a conversation about how he and Love might be able to play alongside one another.
“Spo’s smart. He’ll figure it out, how we’re going to handle things,” Adebayo told The Associated Press.
“It’s exciting. We’ve got fresh legs on the team. We’ve got a guy like Kevin Love, who has been through those wars, came back from 3-1 (with Cleveland against Golden State in the 2016 NBA Finals). You’ve got a battle-tested guy like that who has won. It’s big for us.”
Over parts of 15 NBA seasons with Cleveland and Minnesota, Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds. He averaged career lows of 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 20 minutes per game in 41 games, almost all as a reserve, this season for Cleveland and didn’t play in the team’s final 12 games before the All-Star break.
That’s what led to the buyout talks, and ultimately, Love coming to the Heat.
When he thinks about what adding Love means to the Heat, Adebayo draws parallels between him and two other players – current Heat forward Udonis Haslem when it comes to leadership, and former Heat centre Meyers Leonard when it comes to things like an ability to space the floor.