Before securing a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love was removed from the team’s rotation by head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Love later signed with the Miami Heat, and he faced off against his old teammates for the first time since the move on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers squeaked out with a win, and the veteran big man spoke about the divorce following the contest.
“I think it was a really tough decision for him to take me out of the lineup,” Love said. “I think ultimately, they wanted to go young and stick with those guys and get Dean [Wade] and Cedi [Osman] and Ricky [Rubio] minutes – especially Ricky and Dean especially getting back from injury – so they want to get the guys more minutes. But just natural frustration is you want to be out there, you want to have those conversations in the locker room, you want to be in those timeouts, those type of situations, and I think that all came so fast for me. There wasn’t any prospect of me going back out there and playing that; I wanted that. I was hungry for that. I was foaming at the mouth for that, but those were, again, really tough conversations, but those are ones that I’m grateful that they had with me so I was able to find something else and find a place where I could be happy and play.”
The five-time All-Star struggled a bit with his shooting efficiency as a member of the Cavs this season, as he only knocked down 38.9 percent of his attempts from the field and 35.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Both of those numbers were down from his marks last season.
During his short time with the Heat, his efficiency struggles have continued. He’s only shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 24.2 percent from 3-point range in seven games with Miami.
But he’s got a starting role down in South Florida, and the one-time champ is hoping to help the Heat secure a spot in the playoffs.
Miami currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 35-32 record. It has a decent 1.5-game lead for the No. 7 seed, but it’s undoubtedly hoping to avoid the play-in tournament and make it directly to the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Heat, they’re three full games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the last guaranteed playoff spot.
As for the Cavs, they’re in fourth place at 42-26. Barring an epic collapse, they’ll likely be in the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left the franchise in 2018.
Cleveland and Miami will face off against each other at Miami-Dade Arena once again on Friday night.