Tag Archives: Andrew Wiggins

Why Everyone Wins The Kevin Love Trade

By Matt Graber

The last major move of the NBA offseason has finally been made, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly have a handshake agreement in place to swap Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round pick for Kevin Love. Here’s a look at how the blockbuster trade affects each team’s future, and how it’s a rare win-win situation.

What It Means For The Cavs: So it’s probably safe to say that the Cavs won this offseason, huh? Adding LeBron James and now Kevin Love has taken the team from perennial disappointment to title favorite. James, Love, and Kyrie Irving give the Cavs a legit Big Three and give LeBron the opportunity to compete for titles now instead of waiting for a young team to mature.

This was a great trade for the Cavs. When you have the opportunity to add a top-10 player to your team, you take it, especially when that team already includes the best player in the world and a 22-year old All-Star point guard. And for all the talk of Love being overrated, or stat-hungry, or a sub-par defender, he’s still one of the best players in the league.

Sure, stats can be overrated and they don’t necessarily tell the whole story, but 26 and 12 can’t be ignored. Love is an elite rebounder, a quality three-point bomber, and one of the best passing big men in the league; the mere thought of Love throwing his brilliant outlet passes to LeBron must have Cavs fans salivating.

The Cavs made the right call in taking Love’s proven production over potential. Wiggins could have developed into a perfect sidekick for LeBron. Anthony Bennett might make major strides this season. But ‘could’ and ‘might’ aren’t really what the Cavs are looking for after signing a 29-year-old Lebron to a two-year deal. Both parties know there is pressure to win now; the Love trade gives them the best chance to do that.

And that’s the new question on everyone’s mind; can the Cavs win it all this year? They seem to be mirroring the Heat’s blueprint for roster construction: flank LeBron with an All-Star on the perimeter (Irving, Wade) and in the frontcourt (Love, Bosh), then use the allure of playing with LeBron to attract battle-tested veterans looking for one last shot at a ring; guys like Mike Miller, James Jones, and possibly Ray Allen, Shawn Marion and Chauncey Billups. Add in youngsters like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellevedova and veteran forward Anderson Varejao, and the Cavs should have the talent and depth to make a serious run.

They won’t be a defensive juggernaut, as both Love and Irving are lacking in that department. But James, Love, Irving and Waiters will give the team a scary offensive arsenal. They’ll be able to outscore anybody, and they’ll have experienced role players who can still thrive in the playoffs. Love takes them from title contenders to title favorites, making the trade a smart and necessary move.

What it Means for the Wolves: This was the best haul the Wolves could have gotten, even better than Golden State’s offer of Klay Thompson and David Lee. Thompson, while a skilled shooter and sound defender, doesn’t have the potential that Wiggins does, and his game wouldn’t look nearly as impressive without Steph Curry. He’s better off staying in Golden State with his fellow Splash Brother, and the Wolves are better off not paying for two years of Lee at $15 million a pop followed by paying Thompson the massive new contract he’ll likely command in 2016.

Wiggins has the potential to become a legitimate two-way superstar. Whether he’ll live up to that potential remains to be seen, but his floor seems to be quality perimeter defender and decent scorer. If he can improve his ball handling and his shooting, he can become much more than that – he can be a two-way menace. Either way, Minnesota will find out soon enough. Wiggins won’t be a third option on this team – he’ll be a focal point on both ends of the floor and the new face of the franchise. That has to be appealing to a kid who recently said he just wants to go to a team that wants him.

The Wolves won’t be a very good team next year, but they’ll be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. A crafty passer like Ricky Rubio surrounded by athletes like Wiggins, Zach Lavine and Corey Brewer will lead to some breathtaking dunks and entertaining fastbreaks. They’ll be League Pass darlings, not the worst label for a rebuilding team.

Wiggins will join Rubio, Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, who came on strong last year, to form an intriguing young core. Add center Nikola Pekovic and forward Thad Young (Anthony Bennett to the Sixers for Young seems like a done deal), and the Wolves have a decent collection of talent. Couple that with two first round picks next year, and the Wolves rebuild is off to a quick and promising start.


Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Matt Graber is a writer for Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter @Matt14Graber


A Letter to the Cleveland Cavaliers

By Murphy Powell

Hi Cleveland Cavaliers, I hope you’re doing well. I mean, I know the team is doing well, I just wanted to make sure you were thinking straight. I heard you were considering trading Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Kevin Love. I don’t want to second-guess you guys, I mean you’re the professionals here. But you’ve had a lot of opportunities lately. A lot of opportunities, and you’ve squandered them all. Every one. Picking Anthony Bennett instead of Victor Oladipo, for example. So instead of going through with this trade – if that’s what you were thinking of doing – I want to encourage you to channel your inner George Costanza and do the opposite of what you were thinking. You’ve made a lot of wrong moves, so doing the opposite would be the right move, right? I can think of three different things to do with your situation. Let’s think these through. 1) Don’t make the trade. You just drafted Andrew Wiggins. Are you seriously going to deal him right away? Before he even plays a minute on your floor? That’s insane. From what I hear, Wiggins’ game should translate in a great way to the NBA. Could you imagine seeing him and LeBron fly down the court, probably throwing a ton of alley-oops to each other and being super exciting? Well if you trade him, you can’t. Also, Wiggins can be your guy of the future. Think about when LeBron leaves. When he does, whenever that is, you’ll need someone to take over. Who better to do that than Andrew Wiggins? And who better to teach Andrew Wiggins about basketball, and being awesome, and all that business than LeBron? Think: you could have LeBron James, without question one of the top 10 players of all-time, teach the future of your franchise. And all you have to do is not trade that guy. Maybe Wiggins will turn out great. Maybe he’ll turn out a bust. But do you want to be 7 or 8 years down the road and see Wiggins – who at that time could be one of the best basketballers on the planet – leading Minnesota to playoff run after playoff run and wish you had him? 2) Make the trade. Your team doesn’t have a great post presence right now. Love is only 25, and he’s already one of the best big men in the league. He’s a great rebounder, a good shooter and one of the best passing big men there is. You can’t pass up an opportunity to grab one of the league’s best players and pair him up with – probably – the league’s very best player. There’s no need worrying about the future. Love has said he’ll re-sign with you after the season, and having him around will probably keep LeBron happy and in Cleveland. Plus Kevin Love’s uncle is Mike Love of the Beach Boys! Just think of all the sweet surf rock you could bring to Cleveland! 3) Wait. You know what Kevin Love is going to do at the end of the season? Not sign with Minnesota. So you have all the bargaining power. The team you have in July 2014 doesn’t have to be the same team you have in June 2015 while LeBron is probably leading you to the Finals. Just wait this whole thing out. Wiggins hasn’t played for a second. He could turn out to be a great fit with LeBron. If he does, don’t trade him. If they turn out to be awful for each other and just don’t fit at all, trade him. And think about potential injuries. If Kevin Love gets hurt in the first week of the season, you don’t have to worry about it. If Wiggins gets hurt, that’s rough, but your team’s probably still ok. Don’t forget: you do still have Kyrie Irving to pair with LeBron. Again, you have the power here, not Minnesota. You can do whatever you want, and you have until the February trade deadline to do it. Whatever you do, it’s probably not a bad decision. Love is great, Wiggins could be great. LeBron’s definitely great. This is a pretty good problem to have. Take care. Love, Murphy

  Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley. You can follow him on Twitter @MurphyPowell.