Apr 4, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) is pressured by Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Minnesota Timberwolves won in 2 overtimes 122-121. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love Not Worth Trading Andrew Wiggins

The Cleveland Cavaliers could use Kevin Love‘s skill set, which is about as obvious a statement as one can make.  Any team in the league would love to have Kevin Love on their roster, as he can legitimately fit among almost any lineup.

He brings a scoring diversity that is rare among NBA players, with the ability to dominate in the paint, while also being able to stretch the floor from distance.  For a 6’10” forward, that alone adds value to a team.

Couple this with the fact that he is still just barely 25 years old and entering the prime of his career, it is easy why the Minnesota Timberwolves are so desperate to hold on to him.  But with just one year left under contract and no playoff appearances during his six-year career, everyone saw this divorce coming long ago … everyone except for David Kahn, the embattled former general manager who extended Love for four years instead of five (including a player option for year four).

Just look at his stats and shot chart from last year:

2013-14 ★ 77 77 36.3 18.5 .457 6.6 .376 8.2 .821 2.9 9.6 12.5 4.4 0.8 0.5 26.1
Career 364 282 32.8 14.1 .451 3.3 .362 6.4 .815 3.7 8.5 12.2 2.5 0.7 0.5 19.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2014.
Kevin Love's 2013-2015 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)

Kevin Love’s 2013-14 Shot Chart (Photo Credit: NBA.com/Stats)

It’s as if someone had somehow added video game cheats.  Love finished fourth in the league in scoring (behind only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James), and third in rebounding (including a league-high 9.6 defensive rebounds), all while averaging a healthy 4.4 assists per game (sixth among all forwards, behind only James, Durant, Gordon Hayward, Nicolas Batum, and Tyreke Evans).

His numbers are insane, and he somehow managed them on a team that achieved a below-.500 record.  That shouldn’t be possible!

Adding Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers would take them from a fringe contender to one of the championship favorites.  Between Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James, the Cavaliers would be a deadly combination of players who could score from anywhere on the floor, and are adept at making the correct play.

And that is why adding Kevin Love is worth almost anything that the Cavaliers would give up … just not Andrew Wiggins at the moment.

The market for Kevin Love is long, but the assets are still few.  Of course every team in the NBA would want to add Love to their roster, but with the uncertainty surrounding his contract situation the Timberwolves may not be able to get proper value.

In fact, even with a guaranteed contract extension Minnesota is simply not able to get proper value for Love … he’s just that good.

The best that Minnesota could do would be to add some combination of draft picks and a top young player on a rookie scale contract, and hope that they hit their ceiling; which is exactly why the Timberwolves are reported to want Andrew Wiggins within a potential Love to Cleveland trade.

Wiggins brings elite athleticism, a deep desire to win, a confidence in his abilities, and a work ethic at both ends of the floor.  If Wiggins can add strength to his body, and continue to develop his three point shot, it is possible that in a few years he could be one of the top SG/SF in the entire league.

Minnesota is currently playing a game of chicken with the Cavaliers (as well as other teams) and trying to see who blinks first.  The tough thing for the Timberwolves though is that they are the ones on the clock in regards to Love being a free agent next summer.

But what the Cavaliers have in spades is assets.  Wiggins is clearly the top asset that could be included in trades, but there are plenty of others at their disposal: from Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, and Dion Waiters, to their own picks moving forward and a 2015 top ten protected Miami Heat first rounder (top 10 in 2015 and 2016, unprotected in 2017).

It’s also fair to assume that players such as Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett can only improve their trade value by playing next to LeBron James.  So it may be possible to acquire Love without having to include Wiggins in the deal.

Wiggins will have the type of opportunity that few top young players do, the chance to learn every day from the best player in the world … and that’s worth at least a few months of waiting!

Tags: Andrew Wiggins Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love

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