The Kevin Love Sweepstakes is in full swing and many NBA teams are “Looking for Love.” Early Thursday afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced the signing of the 2014 NBA Draft’s number one pick, Andrew Wiggins. The signing of the first pick is generally a formality during NBA off seasons, but with the swirling trade rumors surrounding Wiggins and All-Star power forward Kevin Love, this is no ordinary news.
League standards stipulate that Andrew Wiggins can’t be dealt for 30 days, which may lead some to believe that the Kevin Love deal is now improbable as contenders such as Golden State and Chicago now have time to win over Minnesota’s heart. The truth is that the Cavaliers needed to sign Wiggins to a contract, worth $5.5 million, in order to help even out the salaries if a trade is ever made. Kevin Love is owed $15.7 million next year and the trade must be of relatively equal salary. If Wiggins ceased to finalize a contract with Cleveland, any trade would just give Minnesota the rights to sign him.
The fact that Wiggins is now locked in as a Cavalier for 30 days means nothing in regards to a Wiggins-Love swap. Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves organization can still agree on principle to finalize a deal when the 30 day period is up; similar to promising to not pull off any moves until the Cavaliers are ready and able to make the trade.
Cleveland may still have to up the ante as recent reports have materialized, carrying word of hard pushes from the Chicago area. The Bulls are offering spark plug power forward Taj Gibson, a promising college star in Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic. A similarity with Cleveland lies here as McDermott and Mirotic both just signed their rookie contracts, and will also have to wait 30 days to be traded.
The Kevin Love Sweepstakes has now transformed into a three-headed race with the Golden State Warriors still lingering on the sidelines with newcomer Chicago. Still, Cleveland remains the favorite to land the most wanted man in the NBA since his possible future teammate, LeBron James, is off the table. With more rumors surfacing regarding Ray Allen coming back for a last run in Cleveland; the city by the lake continues to grow in power.
If you ask a Cavaliers fan on the streets of Cleveland whom they would rather have: Love or Wiggins, you will get a near even split. The two followings will clash endlessly, arguing about who will be better for the team in the long run. Most Love supporters bring up the fact that LeBron will soon turn 30, so his best chance to bring a championship home will be in the next couple years. Wiggins devotees will promise you that Andrew has limitless potential and will no doubt be better than Love within a couple years.
The best case scenario for Cleveland would be to keep Wiggins and see how he performs at the 2-spot, as Kevin Love will be a free agent next offseason. It’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming offseason days play out yet one thing’s guaranteed: it will be an entertaining season for fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers.