Last week, the biggest news surrounding the NBA was LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. This week, it’s been the constant back-and-forth speculation over whether Andrew Wiggins will remain a Cavalier when the season starts or be shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade package for 3-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love.
Initially, new head coach David Blatt said that there was no way Wiggins would be included in any trade. “There’s no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed,” Blatt said.
More recently, though, it was thought that Cleveland had changed their tune after widespread reports emerged that the Cavs are willing to trade Wiggins for Love. These reports drew upon an article by Cleveland Morning Journal writer Bob Finnan, who wrote the following:
Up until this point, it was assumed the Cavs wanted to hang onto Wiggins, largely because of comments made by Coach David Blatt. However, a source said James wants the 6-10, 250-pound Love on the roster. And, what James wants, he normally gets.
The thinking is that Wiggins is going to be a very good player, a possible All-Star player, in time. But he’s raw. He’s a long way away from reaching that potential. Love is an All-Star caliber player now. The union of James, Kyrie Irving and Love could be a championship in the making.
Finnan added that the full deal for Love could include Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick. However, it’s worth adding that until anything is made official, the sudden reversal on not trading Wiggins is straight from the rumor mill. In an Associated Press article written by Jon Krawcyznski, two league sources say that Cleveland’s refusal to include the 19-year-old in any deal stands. Here’s a look at an excerpt from Krawcyznski’s article:
But two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Cavaliers’ position has remained unchanged and that no offer including Wiggins has been made to Minnesota. The people requested anonymity because neither team was publicly commenting on trade talks.
“Rumors are rumors. That’s why they call them rumors,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “Sooner or later in one’s career, you’re going to have to deal with it. If he has to deal with it now, then so be it. It’s summer league. He’s learning everything as he goes along.”
Original trade rumors had the Cavs offering Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and a number one pick to Minnesota for Love. However, word had it that the Timberwolves countered by wanting Wiggins included in any potential deal.
Assuming what’s been said about Cleveland not wanting to trade Wiggins is true, it’s easy to see why. The Toronto native is currently having a good summer league, averaging 15.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 1.5 BPG in four contests so far. He’s also displayed some incredible athleticism on dunks and blocked shots, foreshadowing the dominating two-way player that he could one day become.
However, those who favor getting a Kevin Love deal done as quickly as possible point out that Wiggins is only shooting 40.2% from the field through four games. Furthermore, he may not be polished enough just yet to serve as an immediate star during LeBron’s unknown tenure in Cleveland.
By getting Love, the Cavs ensure that they’re an immediate favorite in the East and potentially to win the NBA Championship. The 6’10” power forward averaged 26.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 4.4 APG and shot 37.6% from the three-point line. Love is actually the only player in NBA history to average over 26 PPG, 12 RPG, 4 APG and make 190 three-pointers.
Given his versatility, Minnesota knows that they have a great asset for any team that wants to trade. However, their leverage in any kind of deal may be sliding because Love has announced that he won’t re-sign with the Timberwolves next summer. This leaves the team needing to get rid of Love by the mid-season trade deadline or take a chance on improving as a team and hoping that the star reconsiders his previous statement.