Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, once a key part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA Finals team, is expected to leave the team soon. Reports suggest that the team is finalizing options to buy out his contract, a four-year, $120 million deal which expires at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Before the trade deadline, Cavaliers president Koby Altman denied rumors of a buyout but confirmed that Love was missing out on opportunities in Cleveland.

“It’s not easy for Kevin, I’m sure,” Altman said. “I’ve had conversations with him. He wants to play. I think he’ll have an opportunity to play again this year. But where we’re at now, I think [head coach J.B. Bickerstaff] is really comfortable with the rotation that we have.”

Love has not appeared in 12 straight games for the Cavaliers and will miss another Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. A report from the Athletic’s Shams Charania suggest that the buyout will be finalized following the game.

After years as a starter on Cleveland’s roster, Love assumed a bench position in the 2021-22 season and has served as a reserve ever since. As the Cavaliers continue building around a young core of players, buying out Love’s contract could give them space to acquire new talent or retain younger members in the offseason.

Coming off the bench last season, Love managed to score 13.6 points per game with 7.2 rebounds, but the 34-year-old’s production has suffered this season. Though he has only managed 8.5 points per game, it’s likely that other teams would be interested in signing him if he becomes available.

The Miami Heat has already been rumored to be a potential suitor, and though that has been the only organization rumored to be interested thus far, analysts also speculate that the Suns, Lakers and others could also use his services. As a paint presence off the bench, Love could still prove useful for a number of teams fine-tuning their rosters before the postseason.

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