Kevin Love

Heat Notes: Lillard, Roster, Herro, Hampton

The Heat suffered a major loss when news of the Damian Lillard trade broke on Wednesday, failing to acquire a future Hall of Famer who specifically wanted to be dealt to them, writes Greg Cote of The Miami Herald. Nearly three months after Lillard told the Trail Blazers that he only wanted to go to Miami, he wound up in Milwaukee, where he and Giannis Antetokounmpo may be the greatest obstacle to the Heat’s chances to repeat as Eastern Conference champions.

Miami missed out on Lillard because team president Pat Riley wasn’t willing to increase his offer to Portland and couldn’t find a third team to help facilitate a deal, Cote adds. Riley was counting on Lillard’s preference for Miami and a lackluster trade market to eventually work in his favor.

Cote contends that acquiring Lillard is the type of win-now move the Heat need to make because their championship window is limited with 34-year-old Jimmy Butler as their best player. Adding Lillard would have provided a shot of energy the team needs as it approaches a long season, Cote adds. Instead Miami will open camp wondering how he got away.

There’s more from Miami:

  • With Lillard off the table, the Heat’s options to improve their roster are now limited, observes Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. Age is an issue as Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love are older than Butler, Rohrbach notes, and so are financial concerns as Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are owed about $130MM for the 2025/26 season, which represents 90% of the projected salary cap. Rohrbach adds that the summer-long pursuit of Lillard showed Herro’s limited trade value around the league.
  • Butler’s Instagram post on Wednesday accusing the Bucks of tampering in the Lillard deal received an endorsement from Herro, who tweeted, “What he said.”
  • RJ Hampton, who is joining the Heat on a two-way contract, is grateful to be in Miami after spending time with three teams in his first three NBA seasons. “a PRIVILEGE to be apart of this organization, let’s go,” Hampton wrote on Twitter. The Heat opened a spot for Hampton with a series of moves on Wednesday.

Heat Notes: Lillard, Jovic, Martin, Love

Despite the recent deluge of rumors linking Damian Lillard to the Raptors, Toronto-based reporter Michael Grange of (Twitter link) says the growing consensus around the NBA is that the Trail Blazers guard will ultimately land in Miami, his preferred destination.

If Lillard is sent to Miami, what would the Heat realistically have to give up? One veteran scout who spoke to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald believes that a package of Tyler Herro, three first-round picks, cap filler (likely Kyle Lowry‘s expiring contract), and one player from the trio of Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez, and Caleb Martin would make sense for both sides.

“If I’m the Heat, I offer two (first-round) picks, Herro and one of the three young players, preferably Jovic or Jaquez, and see if anybody tops that,” the scout said. “If you have to give up one more pick, fine. Three picks are rich for a guy who’s 33 with ($216MM) left on his contract. But I could understand offering a third. I would do it if that made the difference in making the deal.”

Previous reporting indicated that Miami initially made an offer that included Herro and two first-round picks.

Because they owe a protected 2025 first-round pick to Oklahoma City, the Heat can currently only include two first-rounders in any trade package, due to the Stepien rule. They would have to reach a separate agreement with the Thunder amending the terms of that traded pick in order to free up a third movable first-rounder. Alternatively, they could offer one or more first-round pick swaps.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Speaking to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Nikola Jovic discussed his experience playing for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup, the status of a back injury that bothered him earlier in the year, and how it felt to have his name pop up in the Lillard trade rumors. A busy summer helped Jovic not spend much time thinking about that trade speculation, he told Chiang. “You just concentrate on other things. I was just so concentrated on basketball there that I didn’t have time to think about what’s going to happen,” Jovic said. “It’s a business. So what happens happens. But of course, right now when I’m (in Miami) and more people talk about it, it’s different than when I was there and just playing and being in the game all the time.”
  • Chiang also interviewed Caleb Martin, who said that Miami feels like a “second home” to him after two years with the Heat and spoke about the offseason departures of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. “We have to find that new connectivity and chemistry with the new guys,” Martin said. “But I feel like we got the right type of guys who fit that system and that shouldn’t be hard. It seems like everybody is about winning. You know what it is when you come to play for the Heat. So you just gotta jump in line with the culture. I feel like we got the right guys to do that.”
  • In a pair of articles for The Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman evaluates the Heat’s depth chart at small forward and power forward. As Winderman observes, one starting lineup decision on tap for Miami will be whether to try Martin as a starter at the four again or stick with a more traditional power forward like Kevin Love.

Southeast Notes: Heat Centers, Kispert, Hornets

The Heat will enter training camp next week with several options to back up starting center Bam Adebayo, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami’s roster could change dramatically with a Damian Lillard trade, but for now the candidates to be the second-string center are Thomas Bryant, Orlando Robinson and Kevin Love, who may be the starter at power forward.

Bryant signed a two-year, veteran’s minimum contract after spending last season with the Lakers and Nuggets. Winderman notes that the 26-year-old was the only big man added to the roster this summer, so it appears the organization is committed to giving him a steady role.

Robinson, 23, signed a standard contract in July after playing on a two-way deal as a rookie. He showed promise last season and during Summer League, Winderman observes, and may be able to earn rotation minutes if he can improve his defense and avoid foul trouble.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Trading for Lillard isn’t the Heat’s only path to success, Winderman adds in a separate Sun Sentinel story. He contends that with the current roster, the team’s outlook will depend on how much improvement from Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic and Haywood Highsmith can offset the loss of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent.
  • Wizards swingman Corey Kispert established himself as one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters during his second season, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Robbins consulted several NBA scouts to get their view of Kispert, who connected at 42.4% from long distance last year. “The one thing you want to look for often with young guys is: Does he have an elite skill? Does he have something that the coaches can rely on? (Does he have a skill where) they can say, ‘We’re going to put him out there and we know for sure he can do this,’” one scout said. “And Corey does, right? No one’s going to question his ability to shoot.”
  • Theoden Janes of The Charlotte Observer talks to country music star Eric Church about his love for basketball and how he became part of the Hornetsnew ownership group. He calls owning his favorite childhood team “beyond any dream I ever had when I was a young man.”

Eastern Notes: Collins, Thompson, Antetokounmpo, Love

John Collins, who was dealt to the Jazz this summer, posted a farewell message on Instagram to the city of Atlanta, Hawks fans, teammates, and the organization. His message to the franchise included mixed feelings, thanking it on one hand while also saying his growth was being “stunted.”

“Thank you for sticking with me, even at my lowest,” Collins wrote. “Thank you for allowing me a place to grow. But as I see, it is this hawk’s time to fly away from the nest. As my growth here is being stunted.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Ausar Thompson, the Pistons’ lottery pick, could be anything from a starter to out of the rotation in his rookie campaign, Keith Langlois of writes. His 3-point shot is the main concern but he has enough attributes to complement the starting backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey by employing his defense on the opposition’s top perimeter play-maker. Thompson could also be a force on the second unit with a number of proven perimeter shooters around him, Langlois notes.
  • Bucks fans don’t want to think about it, but what if Giannis Antetokounmpo eventually demands a trade? HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan looks at potential landing spots for the two-time MVP, with the Knicks, Thunder and Pelicans topping his list due to their surplus of assets.
  • Kevin Love could take over the role of sage veteran on the Heat‘s bench, which Udonis Haslem filled in recent seasons, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Like Haslem, Love is a player with championship pedigree and he’s already served as a mentor inside the Heat locker room. Love could especially be helpful in the development of young forward Nikola Jovic, Winderman adds.

Heat Notes: Love, Adebayo, Free Agency, Training Camp

Kevin Love didn’t join the Heat until late February this year and appeared in just 21 regular season games for the team. However, he saw enough during that time – and during Miami’s extended playoff run – to get comfortable with the organization and to decide he wanted to re-sign as a free agent, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

“I think naturally I wish that I would have found my rhythm and found my fluidity and feel on the court faster,” Love said. “But I think my impact was both on the floor and off the floor. Just being around the locker room, whether it be pregame or postgame, at practice, I felt like I could make a major impact there in helping bring us together.

“I also have a great relationship with the front office, with ownership, with all my teammates, coaching staff. It just felt like a good home for me and I wanted to continue that and see what was possible if I started the year out for the Miami Heat and see the impact that I could have there.”

When they re-signed him this summer, the Heat used their Non-Bird rights on Love to give him a salary that’s 20% above the veteran’s minimum, so he’ll earn $3,835,738 in 2023/24 instead of $3,196,448.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • William Guillory of The Athletic contends that, given its lack of interior size and rebounding at this year’s World Cup, Team USA needs to make sure that Heat big man Bam Adebayo is part of its roster for the 2024 Olympics — especially if Joel Embiid doesn’t commit to playing for the U.S.
  • The holding pattern in the Damian Lillard trade talks isn’t the only reason why the Heat are holding off on pursuing veteran free agents, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman explains, Miami likely assured early free agent additions such as Josh Richardson of a certain role, and adding another free agent at the same position – such as Kelly Oubre – would cut into that role.
  • In a separate article, Winderman argues against the idea of considering a trade for Kevin Porter Jr. In Winderman’s view, even though Porter would never play a game for any team that acquires him, the downside of having him even briefly associated with your franchise isn’t worth it for some minor draft assets and possibly a bit of financial relief.
  • The Heat announced on Friday that they’ll hold their training camp at the Florida Atlantic University campus in Boca Raton from October 3-7 following their Oct. 2 media day at the Kaseya Center in Miami, per Winderman.

Heat Notes: Lillard, Starters, Wood, Rebounding

The Heat don’t have any reason to increase their offer for Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard unless they’re determined to have him when training camp opens, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes in a mailbag column. No other team has made a significant offer for Lillard, Chiang notes, so Miami would essentially be bidding against itself by giving more assets to Portland.

Chiang adds that the first step would be for the Heat and Blazers to resume trade discussions, which have been dormant for several weeks. Sources around the league tell Chiang that they expect the teams to start talking again some time before they both open camp in early October.

Chiang also speculates that things might get “messier” in Portland if Lillard is still on the roster at the start of camp, which would mark three months after he submitted his trade request. It’s not ideal for the Heat to start preparing for a new season amid so much uncertainty, so the time pressure could renew both teams’ interest in getting a trade completed.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Without a trade, the Heat’s most likely starting lineup appears to be Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo, Chiang adds in the same piece. Butler and Adebayo are the only full-time starters returning from a team that just reached the NBA Finals a few months ago, although Herro was sidelined with an injury and Lowry and Love both have extensive starting experience. Chiang speculates that Caleb Martin could take Love’s place on occasions when Miami wants to use a smaller starting five, and Herro could be used as a makeshift point guard with Josh Richardson starting alongside him in the backcourt.
  • The Heat were mentioned as a possible destination for Christian Wood before he signed with the Lakers this week, but Miami isn’t in position to make complementary roster moves until it knows what’s going to happen with Lillard, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Wood reportedly had been watching the trade requests involving Lillard and James Harden to see if a situation might open up that would offer him regular playing time, but he decided not to wait any longer to find his next team.
  • Erik Spoelstra’s experience as an assistant coach with Team USA during the World Cup provided him with another example of the need for size on the front line, Winderman adds. The Americans were routinely outrebounded by larger opponents, just as Miami was in losing to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The Heat finished 27th in the league in rebounding last season, which may affect Spoelstra’s decision on whom to start at power forward.

Eastern Notes: Garland, Adebayo, Love, Beauchamp

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland is using the team’s first-r0und playoff loss to New York as fuel for next season, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I’ve been watching a lot of film of it this summer. Just trying to find ways to improve for next year. But now we’ve seen the playoffs,” Garland said. “For a lot of guys, it was our first time in the playoffs, so just getting that playoff experience made us better I think and made us hungrier. Even though we had a good year, I think we can trend up another notch this year and see what’s to come.”

One thing that Garland believes is that the Cavs collectively have to be tougher and stronger in their next postseason appearance.

“We have to be more physical,” Garland said. “I think their physicality took a toll on us in that series. They beat us up. We now know how physical the game is in the playoffs and we know how fast the pace is and every possession matters. Just taking little bits and pieces of that series and trying to put it together for the regular season and then also carry that into the playoffs.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bam Adebayo believes the Heat simply wore down during their long postseason run, he told Leonard Solms in an ESPN story. “I feel like we just came up short because we had [among the most] injuries in the 2022-23 season. [Through] all those ups and downs throughout the season… I feel like fatigue had a toll,” he said of the Finals loss to the Nuggets.
  • Kevin Love‘s role with the Heat could fluctuate next season, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Love could start against bigger front lines with Caleb Martin starting against small-ball lineups, provided Martin isn’t dealt. Love could also see some action as the backup center. However, Winderman notes that coach Erik Spoelstra prefers continuity during the regular season.
  • Bucks guard MarJon Beauchamp had a memorable performance at the Crawsover Pro-Am event in his hometown of Seattle over the weekend, JR Radcliffe of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Beauchamp scored 83 points in a game at Seattle Pacific University to set an event scoring record. He’s expected to have an expanded role next season with the Bucks after playing 52 regular season games as a rookie.

Heat Notes: Lillard, Roster Openings, Trade Exceptions, Centers, Cain

The Heat have two open roster spots but they’re in a holding pattern until the Damian Lillard situation is resolved, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Without trading for Lillard, Miami is only in position to add players on veteran’s minimum deals. The Heat would have even more roster spots open by dealing multiple players for Lillard.

Winderman also notes there are plenty of free agents with former ties to the organization looking for contracts, including Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, Derrick Jones Jr., Justise Winslow and Meyers Leonard.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Unless they need one of them as part of a blockbuster trade for Lillard, the Heat are unlikely to use the three trade exceptions they’ve generated, Winderman writes in a mailbag piece. The exceptions of $9.5MM, $7.3MM and $4.7MM cannot be aggregated. The punitive elements of the luxury tax in the new CBA discourages using any of them to bring in more salary.
  • Unlike last season, the Heat have multiple options at backup center behind Bam Adebayo, The Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang writes in his latest mailbag. It could be Kevin Love, if he doesn’t start at power forward. Otherwise, free agent signee Thomas Bryant and Orlando Robinson will battle for those minutes.
  • Jamal Cain is in limbo. He’s a restricted free agent after finishing last season on a two-way deal. Miami extended him a qualifying offer before free agency and Cain is trying to improve his stock during Summer League action, he tells Chiang. “I’m just trying to do what I can here to make sure I get a contract,” he said.

Contract Details: Poeltl, Strus, Love, Robinson, Walsh, R. Lopez

Jakob Poeltl‘s four-year contract with the Raptors has a flat base value of $19.5MM per year, for a total of $78MM, tweets Blake Murphy of There are $500K in annual incentives currently considered unlikely to be earned — if Poeltl maxes out those bonuses, it’ll be worth $80MM. As previously reported, the fourth year is a player option.

Murphy adds that Jalen McDaniels‘ two-year deal is, as expected, worth the full amount of the bi-annual exception and is fully guaranteed, with no options on the second year.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts that Hoops Rumors can confirm:

  • Max Strus‘ four-year contract with the Cavaliers, which has a total value of $62.3MM, has a first-year salary of $14,487,684. That means the trade exception created by the Heat in the sign-and-trade deal is worth $7,243,842, half of Strus’ salary, due to base year compensation rules.
  • Kevin Love‘s two-year deal with the Heat is worth the full Non-Bird amount — $3.84MM in year one and $4.03MM in year two (with a player option). That represents 120% of his minimum salary.
  • Orlando Robinson‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Heat is only partially guaranteed for $75K in 2023/24. That guarantee will increase to $425K if he remains under contract through the start of the regular season and to $850K if he’s not waived on or before December 1. Because Robinson’s current guarantee is only $75K, he’d be eligible for a two-way deal if he’s waived before the regular season.
  • Jordan Walsh‘s four-year deal with the Celtics is worth the minimum in all four seasons. It’s fully guaranteed in the first two years, with a $200K partial guarantee in year three.
  • Robin Lopez‘s minimum-salary contract with the Bucks is for one year.
  • We’re continuing to update our free agent tracker and our list of draft pick signings with contract details as we learn them.

Kevin Love Signs Two-Year Deal With Heat

JULY 6: The Heat have made it official, issuing a press release to announce their new deal with Love.

JUNE 30: Veteran power forward Kevin Love is returning to the Heat on a two-year contract, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The second year will include a player option (Twitter links).

The Heat are using their Non-Bird rights to re-sign Love, which will result in a $3.7MM cap hit for next season, the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang tweets. Miami could have gone as high as $3.84MM to retain Love, so they’ll get a little cap relief if the $3.7MM figure is correct.

In either case, it’ll be a bargain for a five-time All-Star and 34-year-old rotation player. After reaching a buyout with the Cavaliers, Love appeared in 21 regular-season games with the Heat, including 17 starts. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists, though the 37% career 3-point shooter struggled from long range (29.7%).

Love played 20 postseason games with Miami, including 18 starts, and produced an average of 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17 minutes. His 3-point shooting perked up to his usual level (37.5%).

While it remains to be seen how the rest of the Heat’s roster moves shake out, Love will likely be a starter or key second-unit player once again for the defending Eastern Conference champions.