When the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Lauri Markkanen, many thought a Kevin Love buyout would be the next logical step. Unfortunately for championship contenders and the Cavaliers, it seems that won’t be happening.
Love, who pulled out of the Olympics, is owed more than $60 million over the next two seasons. Cleveland hoped that it could get out of some of that money, in exchange for moving on from Love and giving him a chance to join a title contender.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Love has zero interest in negotiating a buyout with the Cavaliers and his agent made that quite clear to the team and ESPN.
“There have been no talks with Cleveland on a buyout, nor is there any interest from Kevin in doing a buyout.”Jeff Schwartz, agent for Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love
Love is open to being traded, a scenario the Cavaliers have explored throughout the past year. However, no NBA team is interested in taking on his $31.25 million salary this season and a $28.94 million salary in 2022.
- Kevin Love stats (2020-’21): 12.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 36.5% 3PT
After he withdrew his name from Team USA’s roster for the Tokyo Olympics, some wondered if his latest recovery from injury would compel him to retire. But the 32-year-old made it clear that he has no plans of walking away from the NBA in the next two years.
Following the Markkanen trade, the Cavaliers’ rotation is overcrowded at power forward and center. Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Markkanen will all be splitting minutes this season at the two positions. Given Love offers no long-term value for the Cavaliers, there is no incentive to play him.
It’s possible Love changes his mind and is downplaying a contract buyout in an effort to convince Cleveland to pay him more money. But if he wants to avoid ending his career on an average team, he will need to sacrifice some of his salary.