Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers have started discussions on a buyout and the sides could come to separation terms during the All-Star break, sources told ESPN.
Love, who has played nine seasons in Cleveland and is its last remaining player from the 2016 championship team, formally requested to be bought out Wednesday, sources said. He is in the final year of his contract with a $31.2 million salary but has been out of the Cavaliers’ rotation for most of the past month, not playing in the team’s past 12 games.
The Cavaliers have found success in that stretch, going 9-3 with the No. 1-ranked defense. That made it unlikely Love would return to the rotation soon unless there was an injury.
It is unusual for a team in playoff position — like the Cavaliers, who currently rank fourth in the Eastern Conference — to release a veteran like Love midseason. But the long history between the team and Love makes a resolution more likely.
Love, who is averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 41 games this season, is expected to draw attention from a number of playoff contenders.
He has struggled shooting while dealing with a thumb injury this season. Love is shooting 38.9% overall and 35.4% from 3-point range, his lowest numbers since 2012-13, when he was recovering from a hand injury.