By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Five-time All-Star forward Kevin Love has discussed the possibility of a contract buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers after being dropped from the rotation, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Love is in the final year of a $120 million, four-year deal.
The 34-year-old hasn’t played in the last 12 games and his representatives approached the Cavaliers about the buyout, said the person who spoke to the AP condition of anonymity because negotiations continue.
At this point, nothing has been finalized and the sides are expected to engage during the All-Star break, the person said.
Love has been with Cleveland since 2014, and one of the NBA’s most versatile big men had a major role in the team winning the 2016 title, the city’s first pro sports championship since 1964.
The Athletic first reported Love’s buyout request.
Love played well earlier this season before being slowed by a thumb injury. When forward Dean Wade and guard Ricky Rubio recently returned from injuries, Love’s minutes shrunk, and lately he hasn’t been in the rotation at all.
Love’s situation became cloudier when the team signed veteran forward Danny Green after he became available via buyout. Green made his debut in Wednesday night’s loss at Philadelphia while Love sat again.
Last week, Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said he had not spoken to Love or his agents about a buyout and expected him to have a contributing role again at some point this season.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said something similar earlier this week, complimenting Love on continuing to be a good teammate and leader.
Love hasn’t played since Jan. 24 He missed two games with back spasms but hasn’t been in Cleveland’s last eight games despite being active.
Although he’s averaging career lows in points (8.5) and rebounds (6.8), Love may be able to catch on with a playoff-contending team looking for an experienced player. He went to four straight NBA Finals with Cleveland.
Love has averaged 17.2 points and 10.5 rebounds since 2008. He spent six seasons with Minnesota before being traded to Cleveland.
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