CLEVELAND (AP) — According to a person familiar with the situation, five-time All-Star big Kevin Love has studied the possibility of a contract buyout after being dropped from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ rotation.
Love is nearing the end of a four-year, $120 million contract.
The 34-year-old hasn’t played in the previous 12 games, and his reps contacted the Cavs about a buyout, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions are ongoing.
Love has been with Cleveland since 2014, and as one of the NBA’s most versatile big men, he played a key part in the team’s 2016 triumph, the city’s first pro sports championship since 1964.
The Athletic was the first to report on Love’s buyout request.
Love’s minutes have dropped since forward Dean Wade and guard Ricky Rubio returned from injury, and he hasn’t been in the rotation at all recently.
Love’s position grew more complicated when the club signed veteran forward Danny Green when he became available through buyout. Green made his debut in Wednesday night’s defeat to Philadelphia, while Love sat once again.
Last week, Cavs head of basketball operations Koby Altman said that he had not talked with Love or his management about a buyout and that he anticipated Love to play again this season.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said something similar earlier this week, complementing Love on his ability to be a good teammate and leader.
Love hasn’t played since January 24. He missed two games due to back spasms but hasn’t played in Cleveland’s previous eight games despite being available.
Although recording career lows in points (8.5) and rebounds (6.8), Love may be able to catch on with a playoff-contending club searching for an experienced veteran. With Cleveland, he reached four consecutive NBA Finals.
Since 2008, Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds.