Kevin Love expresses admiration for Heat’s Bam Adebayo at pre-Olympic camp, ‘love how he plays’

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As one of the youngest players on the U.S. Olympic team, it turns out that Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo already has a fan in one of the oldest players on the roster.

Speaking in Las Vegas amid pre-Olympic training, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said his respect for Adebayo transcends this moment ahead of the Tokyo Games.

“He’s somebody that I really admire,” Love, 32, said after a workout under San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is guiding the 12-player Olympic roster. “He’s actually somebody whose jersey that I have in my locker. It’s a very select few, but I love how he plays.

“I love what he’s about, his story, where he’s come from, and just how great he’s done in this league in a very short period of time.”

With USA Basketball going with a more versatile roster, Love, Adebayo and Draymond Green are the lone post players on Team USA. Love said he hopes to tap into the skill sets of both Adebayo and Green in coming weeks.

“I mean, listen, I always feel like on or off the court that everybody’s kind of my superior in a way,” Love said, “that I can learn from them. And those are two guys with incredible skill sets.”

What makes Love’s comments about Adebayo all the more intriguing is that Love could be traded this offseason amid Cleveland’s youth movement, or perhaps even receive a buyout from the Cavaliers. His outside-shooting and solid rebounding could be a fit for the Heat, who played at a deficit in their power rotation in being swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks.

For his part, Adebayo said that at 23 he hardly enters Olympic camp feeling like a mentor.

“I wouldn’t say more of a vet. I would just say I’m transitioning to five-year player, fifth-year player, so I can help the players in year two and year three, because I went through it,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say vet yet.

“So when we get to years six or seven, then I might transition to vet. I still think I’m one of the young ones, still.”

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