The Cleveland Cavaliers had all their wildest dreams come true when Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins reported that LeBron James was coming home. But those dreams might get a little bit wilder if the Cavs are able to put together an attractive trade offer for the Minnesota Timberwolves to get Kevin Love.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Kevin Love is “intrigued” by the prospect of playing with LeBron James in Cleveland and would commit to the team long-term if he were traded there. Love is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015 and many teams have been hesitant to put a deal together for the three-time All-Star for fear of him leaving after a year in free agency.
LeBron’s return to Cleveland automatically makes the Cavs favorites in the East with the Indiana Pacers still unsure of what to do with Lance Stephenson and the Chicago Bulls still holding out hope for Carmelo Anthony. Chris Bosh will likely leave the Miami Heat for the Houston Rockets and Dwyane Wade‘s days of being an alpha player are far behind him.
Love has not made the playoffs in six seasons in the NBA, despite posting career averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. Last season, Love put up 26.1 points, 12.5 boards and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from three-point range. Adding Love to the Cavs would provide LeBron with a stretch-4 and would take some of the pressure off of him to attack the boards.
The question becomes what sort of deal Cleveland would be able to put together to entice the Wolves. Minnesota would obviously be dead-set on getting Andrew Wiggins in return as a player to rebuild the franchise around for the future, but the Cavs will be hesitant to trade away such a tantalizing young piece if it can be avoided. However, all signs point to the contrary so far:
Whatever the Cavs offer Timberwolves for Kevin Love, I keep hearing the offer needs to include Andrew Wiggins to make it work.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 11, 2014
Even if the Cavaliers have to give up their 2014 No. 1 pick in order to make a deal work, a nucleus of Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love would automatically make Cleveland Eastern Conference favorites, unless Carmelo Anthony opts for the Chicago Bulls, in which was it’d pretty much be even money. Cleveland would likely need to include Dion Waiters and/or Tristan Thompson plus future draft picks, but the Cavs would be title contenders for years to come with Kevin Love on board.
There’s a chance, however, the Cavs decide to put their faith in the future and keep Andrew Wiggins. The chance that Wiggins will be a draft bust goes down drastically under LeBron’s tutelage and as his mentor, the King could mold Wiggins into the future of Cleveland, further giving back to the franchise that drafted him in 2003.