Cavs seek Love, Wiggins seeks NBA home


VIDEO: Andrew Wiggins was a sensation for the Cavs during Summer League play

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for Love. All Andrew Wiggins wants at this point is an NBA home.

A raw talent so alluring that several franchises sabotaged their 2013-14 seasons for a shot at landing him, Wiggins has been treated for the past six weeks like somebody’s backup date for the prom. As soon as James stunned and, in many quarters, delighted the NBA by announcing his return to Cleveland, Wiggins became less a piece of the Cavaliers’ bright future and more a means to an end — that being Kevin Love.

A deal that will deliver Love, the all-NBA power forward, from the Minnesota Timberwolves to James’ insta-contender in Cleveland already has been struck, according to many sources, awaiting only a formal announcement once Wiggins is eligible to be traded Saturday. Draftees who sign their rookie contracts cannot be traded by NBA rule for the first 30 days and Wiggins put his name on a five-year, $24.8 million deal on July 24.

Soon thereafter, Cavs general manager David Griffin and Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders reportedly agreed on the much-anticipated trade. Wiggins will go to the Wolves with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, forward Anthony Bennett and a future first-rounder for Love, according to the reports. The Wolves are said to have a deal set to trigger, too, with the Philadelphia 76ers; multiple outlets have reported that Thad Young will head to the Twin Cities for that future No. 1 pick, along with forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved.

All of which means Wiggins, a wing player with preternatural leaping skills and a gift for stifling on-the-ball defense, will be part of a future-focused rebuilding effort after all. It will just be Minnesota’s, not Cleveland’s, and the cupboard will be slightly more bare.

He’ll be joining fellow raw rookie Zach LaVine and crafty (if slightly tarnished) playmaker Ricky Rubio in what Minnesotans hope will at least be an alley-oop circus to rival the L.A. Clippers’ “Lob City.” With second-year big Gorgui Dieng and veterans such as Young, Nikola Pekovic and Corey Brewer on hand, the Wolves probably won’t be ending their 10-year postseason drought next spring. But they won’t be taking a dive in search of lottery chances either.

Kevin Love (David Sherman/NBAE)

Kevin Love (David Sherman/NBAE)

Remember, this is a franchise that has never even improved its draft position in the lottery, never mind snagged the top pick overall. Prior to Wiggins and Bennett coming aboard, the Wolves have had just two former No. 1 overall picks on their roster — Joe Smith and Michael Olowokandi. They’re hoping their yield from these next two picks is a little greater.

Love has been a specter this NBA offseason. He excused himself from participating with Team USA because of the trade speculation and media attention it would have received during the 2014 FIBA World Cup preparations. He will exit Minnesota with amazing double-double stats, rare inside-outside skills, a dinged reputation as a leader and, through six seasons, a thin resume (horrible W-L record, zero playoff appearances) that is expected to change quickly next spring.

Wiggins, meanwhile, is about to experience something foreign to young players of his stature. Of the 37 fellows drafted No. 1 since the NBA-ABA merger, through Bennett’s arrival in Cleveland in June 2013, none has been traded so early in his playing career.

Michigan’s Chris Webber (1993) was traded before he took his first professional dribble, when the Orlando Magic sent him to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three more first-round picks on Draft night. Wiggins was drafted, smiled for the cameras in Cleveland and actually played in Summer League games for the Cavs, all while the trade reports swirled. But that seems like it for him with Cleveland. At least for a while.

Here is a look at the fates of the 37 top picks prior to Wiggins:

  • Never, ever traded (12): Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Brad Daugherty, James Worthy and Magic Johnson.
  • Traded well into their careers, 4 years or more (18): Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Dwight Howard, Kwame Brown, Kenyon Martin, Olowokandi, Allen Iverson, Glenn Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Johnson, Derrick Coleman, Danny Manning, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Mark Aguirre, Joe Barry Carroll and Mychal Thompson.
  • Traded on draft night (1): Chris Webber.
  • Traded within one year of selection (1): Pervis Ellison.
  • Others (5): Anthony Bennett (TBD), Greg Oden (never traded but waived after chronic injuries), Elton Brand (traded after second season), Joe Smith (traded in third season) and Kent Benson (traded in third season).

It’s looking as if Wiggins — and Bennett, for that matter — will fall somewhere between Webber and Ellison on the quick-change-of-scenery scale for No. 1 picks. Webber, remember, almost counts double; he was traded by Golden State to Washington two weeks into his second season over a rift with then-coach Don Nelson.

The immediate question on Wiggins will be, how might this affect his confidence and development, getting jerked around like a prize heifer or a chess piece? Long term, no one seems worried that whatever trauma an early-career trade might represent will stunt his professional growth.

And Wiggins’ one-season college coach, Kansas’ Bill Self, told the Associated Press that the 19-year-old likely won’t be shaken at all. Once he’s permitted to get on with this rookie thing.

“When all this trade stuff started, I talked to Andrew and Andrew told me, ‘I hope I get traded,’ “Self said. “And I’m like, ‘No you don’t.’ And he said, ‘Coach, I do. It’s better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.’ “

In Minnesota, Wiggins will have a coach in Saunders who, as the team’s POBO, will be doubly committed to the young player’s success. He’ll have an assistant coach in Sam Mitchell, a former Coach of the Year winner in Toronto, who was widely credited for his influence (as a player) on a former Wolves rookie, Kevin Garnett, 20 years ago. Wiggins also will get minutes, touches and a lot of leeway in which to learn from early mistakes.

Even the folks in Cleveland don’t doubt what they’re giving up.

“He’s going to be fine,” one Cavaliers insider told NBA.com. “He’s got all the talent in the world and he’s a great, great kid. It’s just … c’mon, Kevin Love? We had to do it.”

For the 2014 No. 1 pick — and for the fans eager to embrace him in Minnesota (presumably as soon as this weekend) — it’s going to be more a matter of,  “C’mon, Andrew Wiggins.”

39 Comments

  1. I do not think they reach the playoffs

  2. wizzz says:

    How are the cavs not broke lol

  3. Zipp says:

    I have been a fan of the timber whinnies, as we call them in mn, from day one. Cleve can have love with his me first aditude creating a very poor teammate. Don’t look for any d from him, he only cares about his own stats. Flip and his team will be better off with the new guys aquired in the trade. Rubio has been willing to share the ball and the o could become very explosive. WHAM…. Dunked for two. Everybody hussles back for d!!!! Missed shot-defensive rebound-outlet to Rubio and here we go again. It will be fun to watch a true team play. They will make the playoffs as a no. 7 or 8 seed. Good luck with Kevin, Cleveland, look at the good news-you are not required to sign him after next season. Or, who knows he might decide that Cleveland is not good enough for his ego and announce he’s leaving. I hope he grows up for you, but don’t hold your breath.

  4. vern says:

    If you go by the rules put in place by the NBA, all of this Love to the Cavs mumbo jumbo would be tampering. The NBA can attempt to fine Toronto for something Drake said but the Cavs, LeBron,the Wolves, and anyone else who felt like talking about it could talk about getting K. Love all day. In my opinion, this shows me that the rules don’t apply to everyone.
    When I say the NBA is fixed, I’m not saying they fix scores or even the winners of the game but they sure do stack the deck.

  5. Pétrus says:

    I don’t know…remember when Dwight Howard and Steve Nash ended up in the lakers, everyone was expecting a road to the finals, it turned out being a bust and those lakers barely make the 8th seed just to get swept by the spurs….ok it’s a totally diferrent situation, what i’m just saying is the idea of putting too many stars together may not work sometimes, and as Michael Jordan would said: “the fun part is beat the best of the game, not just join them to win games”

  6. Kuhlmans Calixte says:

    Its going to be fun watching my bulls against all the kings men# EPIC

  7. Kirby Record says:

    Good trade for all parties. No one can say that 25 pts and 12 rebounds isn’t an elite offensive player, and with James and the other guys the Cavs will be hard to stop. An average defense will make them contenders. That’s the era question make. The Wolves get two potentially elite players, which is worth one in mid career.

  8. theMn says:

    THIS post seems to be making IT PERSONAL,,, ITS NOT PERSONAL,, LOVE IS A BETTER PIECE FOR CLEVELAND RIGHT NOW< PERIOD!,

  9. The addition of Love to the Cavs will surely see Cleveland walk into the NBA Finals. They are extremely stacked from the 2 through 4, with Waiters, LeBron, Love, Ray Allen?, Marion and Thompson. They just need to pad out the 1 and the 5 with decent backups and they can challenge any contender in the west. It’s going to be exciting to watch

  10. Basketball Jones says:

    @dcawston………The Lakers got the New Orleans Jazz 1st round pick in a trade and in 1979 draft ended up with Magic on a coin flip for first pick.

  11. dcawston says:

    Wasn’t magic traded to the lakers from the bucks?

  12. dcawston says:

    Wasn’t magic drafted by the bucks and the traded to the lakers?

  13. Jake says:

    Lebron should have went clippers

  14. UloL says:

    Wiggins will not shine under Lebron’s umbrella. It is best for him to shine on his own. This might be a Kobe like situation way back 1996. but the diff is Kobe is 13th pick he is 1st pick so he must have his own wings to fly in the NBA

  15. pablo.b says:

    This is a stretch, I know, but has anyone EVER given thought to the fact that for LeBron to continue to shine and dominate like has been doing(minus a healthy Kobe, a healthy D-Wade, A healthy D-Rose, A healthy Paul George.. Who else is there..Help me out here somebody, lol.. Point is; LeBron and the NBA needs good competition, real challenges and with he and Wiggins on the same team, HOW WILL HE SHOINEÉÉÉÉ How will the NBA make moneyÉ Wherès the competion coming from.. So, in the BEST INTERESTS of the LEAGUE, REVENUE, MARKETING, HIGHLIGHTS…..This trade had to happen..DEEP, DEEP DEEP in the CAVS organization, THERE IS A LOT OF RESPECT FOR ANDREW WIGGINS and WHAT HE CAN AND WILL DO…NBA IS A BUSNIES FIRST AND FOREMOST…IUf you dont know, you havent been watching..

  16. It will be great for Lebron to have two young dominant players at his side. He can now average that triple/double he’s been avoiding but expected every night since his rookie year. If he can get them to buy into defense then they’ll be in the finals from jump.

    If Tristain Thompson can do his best Taj Gibson impersonation he’ll be a big part of this, otherwise look for him to get moved for CLeveland to avoid losing him for nothing as a restricted free agent (yes CLev can match an offer but with an expected 3 max salaries they may not see him worth that much if he doesn’t show out).

    Deion Waiters, if he can turn into a consistent 3-and-D player he may finally get the proper recognition his game merits. This season he should have every opportunity to do so.

  17. TheKush says:

    Wiggins has TWO parents that were athletes TWO parents not one TWOOOOOOO! His mom has a park named after her in Canada! The guy runs with a bounce in his step and from what I’ve observed he looks like all he needs to do is get comfortable with what to do offensively and defensively before he starts dominating! I think Wiggins will learn quickly from James those are my thoughts

    I can’t blame the Cavs for trying to ship Wiggins for Love if Love signs in Cleveland for the long term… however I think the Cavs might be making a mistake because James does everything Love does and Cleveland already has a bunch of scorers and a few rebounders that won’t cost that much money – plus Irving just got paid. I personally wouldn’t make the trade for wiggins however it is what it is. maybe I just want to the inevitable highlight dunks with Wiggins and James! All I’m saying is I think there’s something special with that Wiggins kid. I would get rid of the other 2 Canadians if I were Cleveland and throw in Waiters because if Waiters loses that baby fat he’s a beast!

  18. cp10 says:

    Nice piece of journalism right here

  19. Chris says:

    Gee, what a surprise. I thought the General Manager of the Cavs was Lebron James, but apparently they do have a real person manager.

  20. Jhogz says:

    They need Larry Sanders on the C position, if they need def on the interior it might be Sanders frm the bucks
    irving, Waiters, LBJ, Love, Sanders. Reserves marion miller jones varejao thompson, etc
    waiters, LBJ and sanders will be great in D. But irving and Love might be a less D. I Think Cleveland will be a very good team. i hope Irving waiter Lbj Love will have Chemistry ASap to achieve atleast top 4-top1 spot for CLeveland. very Excited for 2014-15 season. well im a Dallas fan tho but im happy for Cleveland from the bottom to a title contender might be…

  21. Rockfromna says:

    Everybody keeps mentioning one thing: POTENTIAL. Yes he has potential to be great, BUTTTTT, how great are we talking? Did he awe at Kansas like Lebron did his senior year of high school? Heck the guy wouldn’t even have been #1 if Joel Embiid was healthy. But potential verses proven all start? I take the all star all day. Kevin has yet to hit his prime yet and to put him beside the best player in the world right now gives a proven all-star POTENTIAL to be even better. Only thing I would have done different is not included a draft pick in addition to Wiggins and Bennet, but definitely would have made the trade.

  22. ... says:

    Can’t you guys understand the real reason for this trade? LeBron is in his prime right now and he needs a championships team right now, he hasn’t got the time to wait for Wiggins to develop in to a superstar or for Bennett to develop in to a decent contributor. Irving and Love have both already proven themselves individually, now we have to wait and see what all 3 of them together can do. Irving can play defense pretty well if he wants to, just like he’s playing D in USAB right now.

    Short-term, it’s a rather good trade for Cleveland and a good trade for Minnesota as well. Cleveland will definitley be at least in East Finals coming season, there’s just no other team than Bulls that could beat this roster in a play-off series in East. And Bulls can only beat them if Rose is fully healthy and playing nearly as good as he did in his MVP season.

  23. I like the moves for all teams

  24. Kobez says:

    Minny is getting a good haul though….Rubio, Pekovic, Martin, Brewer, Barea + Wiggins, Lavine, Bennett, T.Young…plus picks….so…Minny will need time to gel, get acclimated, but will be on the rise sooner than later….

    Flip is a great coach….can’t wait to see what he will do for Wiggins…and Bennett…

    CLE will also dominate…no doubt about it….i see both of these teams benefiting from this trade…everybody will actually get what they want…

    Think about it…everyone gets what they want….Love wants out…Lebron wants Love….Wiggins actually wants to be in a system where he can grow and develop his potential without being in the shadow of Bron/Irving…

    Thing is….CLE may win a championship a lot quicker than Minny….alot quicker….and it will be too bad that Wiggins wont be a part of that….

  25. NBA says:

    wiggins is going to be a supertar someday but i think the move cleveland a Minnesota did was good for their team, cleveland did need love so he can space up the floor for james and irving, the problem with wiggins is that hes young and when you yung you do to many mistakes and cleveland want to win now if they kept wiggin if still was a payoff team but love makes them more deep

  26. kanuk says:

    you got it johnny!
    this is a terrible trade.
    bron is going to be shaking his head again in the playoffs next year, same as he did last year, with the total ineptitude of this cavs defense.

  27. sports guy says:

    Minnesota took Cleveland in this, they will be sick of Kevin love and his no defense

  28. Joshua James says:

    I think that this move is a direct reflection that Lebron no longer has the momentum that he did during his cleaveland days. The fire is not there anymore. We do not see him moving at 100 mph to block lay-ups or “easy dunks” and we definitely do not see him playing with that chip on his shoulder. I feel like ever since Lebron won his ring we acted like he accomplished his goal and quest for being the best. My response would be “No Lebron!!! You were feared more when you played with the fire. Not because you had to be the best for your team, but because you wanted to be the best for your city.”

    Long-term this move may be the best temporary satisfaction for CLE, but when you have a guy that has the potential to be a superstar in a category below all-time great, that’s an opportunity that you need to take advantage of, especially when you have arguably the GOAT playing on your team now.

    Love will help CLE win a championship, but Wiggins could help them win Championship(s). He is a freak athletically, but what is most important in this league today is role players contributing with their specialties and everyone playing team defense. CLE got worse defensively. Sure they will be able to score a bunch of points, but the SPURS can do both. They have role players (that they have developed to work in their system). CLE has a tall task to beat them head to head, because the SPURS got MUCH STRONGER BY NOT LOSING ANY OF THE PLAYERS THAT THEY DEVELOPED.

    Lebron, if you want to win a ring in CLE you must bring the same intensity that you brought during your first tour in CLE. The SPURS will be waiting, and they are still hungry

  29. Yeah says:

    Who can play defense except LBJ on that team I wonder? Irving, Love, Varejao…… Good god, they’ll be full of holes.

  30. harriethehawk says:

    I like the moves for all teams involved!

  31. charnise says:

    Kevin love will be here tomorrow

  32. chad says:

    I think its a solid trade for both teams. But with Cleveland wanting to win now, it worries me that Love and Irving havnt been to the post season. Another thing is that they’re both really young and may still put individual numbers ahead of team success giving that neither of there teams have not so much had a winning record. James, wade, and bosh were already playoff tested and were “hungry” and willing to sacrifice for the team

  33. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    The new big 3 in Cleveland will win 3 championships by the time LeBron is retired… Worst case scenario is that they win 2… either way LeBron finished his career with 4/5 rings.. and arguably the GOAT

    Michael Jordan 1) a
    LeBron James 1) b

    Kobe Bryant 2)

    • Teddy Lee says:

      Dont be stupid. Lebron leaving Cleveland automatically took him from top 5 all time status. Who leaves in their prime to win a chip but a coward?? I love LeBron but i believe that if he would have stayed in Cleveland and won one chip that would have counted more than his flip flop tactics to get two.

      And fyi LEBRON WILL NEVER BE CONSIDERED BETTER THAN KOBE. Doesn’t matter if they had the same amount of rings. Because we all know there’s a big asterisk next to both of those championships.

    • brian says:

      Lol LeBron needed to stack his team to even win one. I wouldn’t call him the goat. More like over rated. And LeBron couldn’t even lick the dirt off kobe shoes.

  34. YungMussuBlack says:

    No matter where he goes, he’s a problem for LeBron. The one thing LeBron can’t control is destiny. Nor, can anyone else for that matter.

  35. johnnyhoops1980 says:

    In both the long term, and short term, I think this is a bad move by the Cavs. They could do as well, and win just as much, with Wiggins playing next to LBJ and Kyrie Irving. I would rather keep the 19 year old, athletic freak that is a beats defensively on the wing: http://straighthoops.com/whats_love_got_to_do_with_it.html