Kevin Love says he wants to have Udonis Haslem-type role over next 2 years and possibly beyond'
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat big man Kevin Love shared that he wants to emulate Heat legend Udonis Haslem over his next two seasons – and possibly beyond that – in Miami.

Love agreed to a two-year deal worth over $8 million to remain with the Heat this offseason.

“I’m hoping these two years provide a lot for me on the court, and still be that contributor, but throughout that time and maybe after that, I would love to be in that role that OG had had,” Love said of Haslem.

“I want to be selfless and just pay it forward. I always say, plant trees, watch them grow. And I’m hoping to do that from our young guys and even me being better.”

Haslem spent the end of his career playing sparingly for the Heat, but he was an extremely respected voice and leader in the locker room. Love, who is an NBA champion from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, could bring a similar veteran presence to the Heat as he nears the end of his own NBA career.

While Love may end up playing a bigger role on the floor than Haslem did at the end of his career, it’s noble that he wants to mentor and help guide other players on the roster.

Haslem appeared in less than 20 games in each of his final seven years with the Heat, but Love played in 55 games for Miami last season. It’s hard to imagine his role getting cut down to less than 20 games, especially since the Heat just lost forward Caleb Martin in free agency to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Love came to Miami during the 2022-23 season after he was bought out by the Cavs. He appeared in 21 games for the Heat during that regular season and ultimately helped them reach the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

While Miami came up short in the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets, it was an impressive run in the playoffs.

Last season, Love appeared in 55 games for the Heat and made five starts. He averaged 8.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 16.8 minutes per game. The veteran big man proved he could still stretch the floor as well, shooting 44.0 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point range.

It’s clear that the Heat value Love’s presence on the roster – otherwise, they wouldn’t have re-signed him this offseason – and it’s nice to see that the veteran wants to make the most of his role going forward.

For Heat fans, it’s amazing to see that the influence Haslem had on the organization during his playing days is still showing up, even now that he’s retired.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.