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Life Beyond 33: Why it is time for Kevin Love to negotiate a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers and start a new chapter in his NBA career

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers
Adam Taylor

Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers were a match made in heaven, well at the beginning at least. LeBron James had just returned to town, and the Cavaliers were looking to add a third star alongside The King and Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving). Kevin Love was looking for a way out of the Minnesota Timberwolves following years of great production with no success.

Everything came together nicely, and Love found himself operating as the final piece in Cleveland's big-3 jigsaw puzzle. That puzzle resulted in the 2016 Championship season, a few more seasons followed where the Cleveland Cavaliers were contenders but fell short at various hurdles.

James stuck around for a couple more seasons as the Cleveland Cavaliers tried to recapture lightning in a bottle, but he left for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. That same summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers inked Kevin Love to an enormous contract extension and drafted Colin Sexton courtesy of a draft pick obtained in the Kyrie Irving trade.

Then the Cleveland Cavaliers began to work on a competitive rebuild, that quickly became a full roster reconstruction, construction work is still underway.

Unfortunately, Kevin Love has found himself in a situation best described as Minnesota 2.0. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been exactly what a rebuilding team should be: inconsistent, and Love himself has failed to scale the NBA mountain top to reach his former playing level. The Santa Monica native has failed to appear in more than 25 games in two of the three seasons since signing his extension.

Injury, age and a lack of fit for the current roster construction have been a source of frustration for Kevin Love, with the Cleveland Cavaliers forward having moments of petulance in multiple games over the last few seasons.

So, now, on Kevin Love's 33rd birthday, it's time to ask ourselves: Is now the right time for him to accept a buy-out and begin to enjoy the last few years of his NBA career?

Luckily, Kevin Love's game isn't based on athleticism, meaning he could continue playing late into his 30's provided he takes care of his body. It's obvious that both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love are no longer the match they once were, and following the trade of Larry Nance Jr, the writing is on the wall: The Cleveland Cavaliers want to get younger.

With a possible future core of Colin Sexton, Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen, it's hard to see why Love would want to remain on a team that's clearly built for a different timeline. Sure, if Kevin Love hadn't of had his petulant moments, there's a world where you could envision him being the veteran presence to help steady the youthful ship - but we've seen that's not the case.

Kevin Love is better served spending the twilight of his career doing what he originally joined the Cleveland Cavaliers for - ring chasing. Almost every contending team would reach out to Love with an offer if he was a free agent, the rebounding, full court playmaking, and floor spacing that the 6'8'' forward provides is insanely valuable in the modern NBA. In truth, Love's presence on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster is a waste of his talents and of the Cavaliers money.

Not every marriage is supposed to go the distance; some are the product of a whirlwind romance that forges the fondest of memories before the spark fizzles out and a breakup awaits. Alas, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love's partnership fits into that mold, and the quicker both members recognize that, the better for all concerned.

The NBA is an unforgiving league, and father time waits for no man, which means Kevin Love can seldom afford another season on a team he doesn't want to play for - or worse, on the treatment table.

Two years remain on Kevin Love's contract, with an approximate value of $60 million still due to hit his bank account over the same time period. Granted, Love won't recoup the full value of his current deal, but the opportunity to be a vital cog in a contending team should far outweigh any monetary renumeration at this point in his career.

Kevin Love is far too good a player to end his career with just one NBA championship, and in an era where aging stars are teaming up on almost a weekly basis, now might be the time for him to jump on the bandwagon. There's nothing left for either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Kevin Love in this partnership.

Now might be the time for him to jump on the bandwagon. There's nothing left for either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Kevin Love in this partnership.

The best birthday present Kevin Love could get is a buyout from his current contract. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar

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