Kevin Love leaving Cavs; Heat, 76ers interested, sources say

Kevin Love's top plays of the 2022-23 season so far (1:49)

Check out the best play from Kevin Love this season as he reaches a buyout with the Cavaliers. (1:49)

Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a contract buyout, the team announced Saturday.

The Miami Heat are front-runners to sign Love, but the forward plans to talk to the Philadelphia 76ers before making a decision, sources said. Love would need to clear waivers before he can sign with a new team.

Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman praised Love for being "everything a franchise would want in a player."

"The admiration and gratitude we have for him will ultimately land his jersey in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse," Altman said in a statement. "We thank Kevin for his impact and wish him nothing but the best, knowing that he has solidified his place in the hearts of Cavaliers fans and this organization forever."

Love also issued thank-yous to Cleveland and the city's fans on social media, adding he would "have more to say soon."

He had requested a buyout earlier in the week after falling out of the Cavaliers' rotation, sitting out their final 12 games before the All-Star break. The Cavaliers were 9-3 without Love in that stretch and entered the break in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

"Hopefully he decides to bring his shooting down to 305 so we can end the season on a very high note," Heat guard Tyler Herro said, referencing the Miami area code.

Heat center Bam Adebayo compared Love's potential addition to longtime Miami big man Udonis Haslem.

"He has won rings. He has been in that locker room where they've been down, what, 3-1 [in the 2016 NBA Finals with Cleveland]. He has been through adversity in his moments of life and in moments of truth," Adebayo said. "So I think it will be great for us just being that he has been a leader. He is a vet, so he can coach the younger guys. You know, help us push this thing forward."

Miami created the flexibility to absorb at least one player in a buyout situation by trading Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs this month in exchange for cash considerations.

Love, 34, was in the final season of a four-year contract, with $8.5 million left on his deal at the time of the buyout, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Love is averaging career lows in scoring (8.5 points per game) and rebounds (6.8) this season as a thumb injury has affected his shot.

He had been with Cleveland since 2014 and was the last remaining link to the 2016 team that won the NBA title and ended the city's 52-year pro sports championship drought.

"It definitely hits you emotionally," Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley told the Akron Beacon Journal about Love's departure. "... All the guys are going to miss him for sure, and I just hope he does great wherever he goes."

Over parts of 15 NBA seasons with Cleveland and Minnesota, Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He is a 37.2% career shooter from 3-point range and helped USA Basketball win both Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold medals.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps and The Associated Press contributed to this report.