Wasting no time after the NBA’s 30-day moratorium expired, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves this afternoon officially consummated their long-awaited deal involving power forward Kevin Love and top overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins.
Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia have completed NBA trade call, source tells Yahoo. Kevin Love has joined LeBron James with the Cavs.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 23, 2014
Cavs, Wolves, 76ers have completed Kevin Love trade officially. As part of deal Wolves will receive 6.3M trade exception. — Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 23, 2014
The deal, which also involves the Philadelphia 76ers, is as follows: Love, a free agent who publicly stated he wouldn’t re-sign with the Timberwolves, goes to the Cavaliers to team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. In exchange, Minnesota receives Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, last year’s top overall draft selection, along with Miami’s first round choice next year that Cleveland owned.
The 76ers then enter the picture by dealing seven-year veteran forward Thaddeus Young to the Timberwolves, in exchange for that Heat first round pick, guard Alexey Shved and center Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Both of the players that Philadelphia receives have only one more year remaining on their contracts, but according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Cameroon native Mbah a Moute is seen as a mentor for the team’s top draft pick, fellow countryman Joel Embiid.
In summary: Kevin Love to Cavs, Wiggins, Bennett, Young to Wolves; Barea, Shved, Heat 2015 1st to Philly.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 23, 2014
This saga began once Love made his intentions known to Minnesota after this past season, with speculation on where the West Coast native would end up. Originally, the Golden State Warriors were thought to be the frontrunner in the Love sweepstakes, but the apparent insistence of including the Warriors’ Klay Thompson in the acquisition put a halt to talks.
Prior to the July 11 announcement that James would be returning to play for the Cavaliers, thoughts of Love being dealt to Cleveland were virtually nonexistent. However, the return of James quickly caused such speculation to go into overdrive.
At first, Cleveland’s new head coach David Blatt dismissed talk of Wiggins being part of any such trade package. That attitude soon faded when the Timberwolves insisted on the inclusion of the 19-year-old, who, like Embiid, spent just one season in the college ranks at Kansas.
Due to an NBA rule which states that no rookie can be traded until 30 days after he signs his contract, the clock for this morning’s deal didn’t begin until Wiggins signed a four-year deal with the Cavaliers on July 24. Both teams officially said nothing publically during this time frame, and were forbidden from even discussing any such deal.
Much like the paranoia that gripped some Cleveland fans when it was announced that James had only signed a two-year deal and that he could opt out next year, if he wanted, Love’s current status is grist for the mill for some. That’s because in 2004, the Cavaliers lost free agent Carlos Boozer to the Utah Jazz when an unwritten “understanding” between the two parties faded after the Jazz offered $28 million more to Boozer.
The difference in this case is that Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on August 7 that Love will opt out of his contract and sign a five-year, $120 million deal. James is expected to sign a new deal in two years, after lucrative new broadcasting contracts are negotiated. Speculation that such a package will help greatly increase each team’s salary cap is the basis for James’ approach.
What are the Cavaliers’ getting in the 6-10 Love? A six-year veteran with three All-Star appearances who is coming off his best season that saw him average 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds. Love also has long range skills, connecting on 190 three-pointers last year, while putting together a career shooting percentage beyond the stripe of better than 36 percent.
The few criticisms that Love has received focus partly on injury problems that limited him to 73 games total in the two years prior to last year. The fact that he had no postseason experience with Minnesota has also been noted, since his arrival makes the Cavaliers an even stronger threat to reach the NBA Finals for only the second time in their history.
Love’s father Stan played four seasons in the NBA before closing out his career with one year in the defunct American Basketball Association (ABA). Stan Love was the ninth player taken in the 1971 NBA draft, chosen by the Baltimore Bullets (now Washington Wizards). His two seasons there were followed by two years with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Cavaliers first preseason game will take place on Sunday, October 5 at Quicken Loans Arena against Blatt’s old team, Maccabi Tel Aviv. The first regular season contest will also be at home on Thursday, October 30, when Cleveland takes on the New York Knicks.