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Cleveland Cavaliers had specific fear about Kevin Love that led to 5-time All-Stars buyout

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ decision to buy out the remaining time on Kevin Love’s contract was apparently not a decision made just to help out a player that helped them win a championship in 2016.

The NBA trade deadline is often the last chance for teams to make game-changing additions or subtractions before the end of the season. However, over the last decade, the weeks after when organizations decided to buy out the final months of expensive contracts have also become another option for notable moves.

This year is no different as a few big names have hit the buyout market, including former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. One of the most notable stars to be released from his contract in the last week is 15-year NBA veteran Kevin Love.

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For the last nine seasons, Love has been a stalwart of the roster for some major highs and lows for the Cleveland Cavaliers, including four straight trips to the NBA Finals. With the team now built around a talented young core of stars, the 34-year-old fell out of the rotation in January and wanted the chance to play elsewhere.

Most assumed the Cavs acquiesced to his request because of his years of service to the team. However, there was much more to the decision than a show of respect.

Cleveland Cavaliers were concerned about Kevin Love’s unhappiness ‘festering’

cleveland cavaliers
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Cleveland.com NBA insider Chris Fedor spoke on the buyout and how many players were shocked by the move. However, he also revealed the organization’s ‘growing concerns’ after Kevin Love was openly unhappy with being benched during a down season in favor of a young player like Dean Wade.

  • Kevin Love stats (’22-’23): 8.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 35% 3PT

“Sources say Love’s relationship with Cleveland’s decision-makers is currently strained — a byproduct of how recent events unfolded. The Cavs were starting to grow concerned about his unhappiness festering, especially since there were no plans to re-insert him into the lineup. With about two months remaining in the regular season, the ticklish situation could have led to another infamous blowup. It’s one reason the Cavs were so willing to honor his buyout request”

– Chris Fedor

Love will be joining the Miami Heat for the remainder of the 2022-2023 season, and there is a good chance they and the Cleveland Cavaliers could face off in this year’s NBA Playoffs.

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