The Athletic senior columnist Jason Lloyd offered some insight into why Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love requested a buyout in a Thursday article.

“Love agreed to step back last year and come off the bench to make room for Evan Mobley,” Lloyd wrote. “He stayed healthy and thrived in a sixth-man role. This year his season has cratered in part to a thumb injury and the worst shooting season he’s had in 10 years. He told me a few weeks ago the thumb was feeling better and he thought he was turning a corner. He expected it all to turn around any day now. It never came.

“Now his relationship with some in the organization is strained again, which is part of what led to the buyout. Love wants to play and didn’t like falling out of the rotation completely. His next destination, whether Miami or elsewhere, will likely be a place where he believes he can get on the court again.”

Kevin Love is averaging a career-low 20 minutes per game in 41 Cavs games played, according to Basketball Reference. He hasn’t seen the floor since a 2-point loss to the New York Knicks on Jan. 24, when he earned 12 minutes and dished one assist in Madison Square Garden. Though Love was not expected to be a buyout candidate by the 2023 NBA trade deadline, he made a formal request for a buyout on Wednesday, just hours before the Cavs took on the Philadelphia 76ers in the Wells Fargo Center.

Kevin Love always assumed when forward LeBron James left, he would follow out the door behind him, wrote Lloyd. Love still had a year left on his contract when James left, Lloyd continued, and the former All-Star forward hoped the team would work with him to send him to a place he wanted to go. The team agreed to a four-year, $120.4 million contract to keep him in Cleveland as they weren’t interested in gutting the organization again.