Heat’s Kevin Love does not want to retire after 2023-24 season

Kevin Love
Kevin Love wants to play at least one more NBA season. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Even though the first-round series against the Boston Celtics has been unfruitful, it’s not unreasonable to say that Miami Heat big Kevin Love has been one of the NBA’s top backup big men this season.

Love, who was acquired on the buyout market in Feb. of 2023 after getting released by the Cleveland Cavaliers, had a bounce-back 2023-24 regular season campaign in his first full season with Heat. In 55 regular season games, he averaged 8.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, shooting 44.0 percent from the floor and 34.4 percent from 3-point range.

As the 2023-24 season winds down–with the Heat facing elimination against Boston Wednesday evening–Love, in his 16th NBA season, does not plan on retiring after this season, he told reporters ahead of Game 5.

“I don’t want to retire,” he said Wednesday, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I would like to keep playing.”

Love signed a two-year, $7.9 million deal last offseason using his non-bird rights. He will have a $4.0 million player option that he has until June 29, 2024, to either exercise or decline, according to Spotrac.

While nothing’s set in stone, one would imagine he exercises that option, allowing Miami to obtain his full bird rights after 2024-25. He has been instrumental not only to the Heat locker room–elevating the team’s collective morale–but to their frontcourt rotation, a unit that’s been beyond subpar since the infusion of Bam Adebayo to the starting 5 at the start of 2019-20.

Love led Miami in rebounding percentage–by over 2.5 percentage points–this season. He also finished fourth on the team in PER (18.5; 15.0 is league average) and true-shooting percentage (59.7), third in value over placement player (1.3) and win shares per 48 minutes (.170) while placing second in both offensive box plus-minus (2.7) and box plus-minus (3.6).

To magnify the importance of the 35-year-old behind Adebayo, the Heat was 4.8 points per 100 possessions better with Love on the floor than when he wasn’t in non-garbage-time possessions, which ranked in the 77th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. They were also 5.2 points per 100 possessions better offensively (88th percentile), two percentage points better on the offensive glass (72nd) and 1.6 percentage points stronger on the defensive glass (72nd).

Miami has routinely been played out of its zone against Boston’s immense spacing with Love on the floor, though it is also down multiple important bodies, compromising its defense and its back-line. It hasn’t been the series for him thus far, but you could not take away from how important he was to their regular season run and how important he is to their rotation. You could argue the 35-year-old, who entered this season in the best shape of his professional career, had his playing career extended in Miami, which must be recognized.

And you can only hope that, for the sake of both sides, the irrefutable bond between the two parties continues into next season and beyond.


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That’s cool shouldn’t be here next year though. All the best


Agreed, let him walk so he can go to contending team, so orob, and Cain can get his minutes. I’ll sure miss his outlet passes though.

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