Kevin Love signs with the Heat after purchasing Cleveland, clearing waivers

Kevin Love signs with the Heat after purchasing Cleveland, clearing waivers

ESPN News Services4 minutes to read

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Kevin Love wasted no time. He is officially a member of Miami Heat.

The five-time All-Star and 15-year NBA veteran cleared waivers Monday afternoon, then signed a contract to join the Heat for the rest of the season not long after. The former Cleveland Cavaliers forward was now in Miami for a signing, with plans to begin practicing at his team’s new facility immediately.

Love’s first official practice with Miami is scheduled for Thursday when the team returns from the All-Star break, and he could make his Heat debut as early as Friday in Milwaukee.

Love is the NBA champion, Olympic champion and Basketball World Cup champion. He ranks 42nd on the NBA’s three-point list with 1,536, and he ranks 19th among players currently in the league.

Heat center Bam Adebayo — who had hoped Love would come to Miami if the Cavaliers bought him — said he plans to contact head coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday to start a conversation about how he could play alongside Love.

“Sebo is smart,” Adebayo told the Associated Press. “He’ll figure it out, how we’re going to handle it. It’s exciting. We have new legs in the team. We have a guy like Kevin Love, who went through those wars, came back from 3-1 (with Cleveland vs. Golden State in the 2016 NBA Finals). You’ve got a battle-tested guy like this who won. It’s big for us.”

Over parts of 15 NBA seasons with Cleveland and Minnesota, Love averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds. He averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 20 minutes per game in 41 games, almost all as a reserve, this season for Cleveland and did not play in the team’s last 12 games before the All-Star break.

That’s what led to the acquisition talks and, eventually, Love came to the Hight. He also spoke with the Philadelphia 76ers.

When considering what it means to add Love to the Heat, Adebayo compares him to two other players – current Heat forward Udonis Haslem when it comes to leadership, and former Heat center Meyers Leonard when it comes to things like space ability. On the ground, talk defense and call for help to defend the edge.

“He’s smart, he’s down to earth, and you can learn from a guy like that, having a guy like that in your corner,” Adebayo said. “He and UD, two different life paths, but now they’re going down the same path. Having guys like that would help me tremendously. He’s an all around amazing person.”

Love will wear number 42, which he wore during his college days at UCLA and while playing for Minnesota.

The Heat on Monday, too announced signature Another big man – free agent center Cody Zeller. He averaged 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 494 games with Charlotte and Portland.

The 6-foot-11 center was the fourth pick in the 2013 draft.

“He was really underrated as a team player,” said Adebayo. “What he does is underrated. I know what he brings to our team will make us more successful.”

Miami would come out of the Eastern Conference’s seventh All-Star break at 32-27, five games short of Cleveland for fourth place. The top four teams in each conference will have home advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and the top six teams in each conference will avoid the tournament to determine the seventh and eighth seeds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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