For Kevin Love, the pain and agony is over. The city of Cleveland will now be able to set a record for the amount of parties thrown in one summer. Joakim Noah still thinks it’s a horrible place to visit? Not in 2014, and not for the foreseeable future.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have firmly agreed to the deal that’s kept us from sleeping at night. Kevin Love will be dealt to David Griffin and the Cavaliers in exchange for 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, and a 2015 first-round draft pick.
The future draft pick involved is a protected pick, but no other details are clear in that regard.
This has been the definition of a sticky situation since last season, when Love was constantly asked to comment on his future with Minnesota, a team that hasn’t made the postseason since he was drafted in 2008.
The three-time All-Star handled it mildly, continuing to work his tail off for the team and recording a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 26.9. Only two other players in the league garnered a better rating, and those are the two most productive race horses in the game: LeBron James at 29.4, and Kevin Durant at 29.9.
Transactions of this nature have a bit of a constraint on them, however, as it interferes with a rookie’s contract signing.
Wiggins, the young stud that just wants to play where he’s welcomed with open arms, can’t officially be traded until August 23, due to Cleveland already signing him to his rookie contract during the Summer League. It takes a full 30 days for that to clear, and the trade will become official before training camps are even underway.
Another hold-up in the process was potentially Love’s desire to sign a long-term extension wherever he landed.
Since he technically has two more seasons left on his contract with Minnesota, he has an opt-out clause that he can exercise in Summer 2015, which will make him an unrestricted free agent.
Cleveland wasn’t foolish enough to give up the best prospect in the most laden draft of the decade without a verbal commitment for the future. Who would be? A few teams would raise their hands, believe me.
Love agreed to be in the picture for the Cavaliers down the road, as he gave them his word on signing a five-year deal next July or August. Due to him being a top two power forward, nothing less than a max contract is acceptable. $120 million or more is what he’ll be looking at when Dan Gilbert takes a look at how the team performs this upcoming year, which comes out to approximately $24 million per season.
In two months, the distraught atmosphere around Cleveland has shot upwards, and they’ve done the unthinkable. 33 wins, one spot short of an eighth seed in the playoffs … to having three max-contract superstars form together and sky-rocket to the top of the conference.
When is the last time something that substantial occurred? I’ll give you a hint: It still including LeBron, the freakish athlete that just surprised us all by turning into a twig. Except, Miami’s 2009-10 season (before the Big Three) resulted in a 47-35 record, and they still found themselves in a tight playoff series versus Boston.
Now, this is one of those moments everyone has to cherish in sports. Like the collaborative efforts to join a super team or not, it’s going to be a “worst to first” type of scenario. Picking Chicago to be the more sound, chemistry-driven team wasn’t a bad choice before this morning. Heck, I even did so.
But, it’s just a testament to how quickly things are altered in a league that’s apparently flipped the switch to a “win now” aura. Not too sure I agree with that approach, but none of the supportive and persuasive statements for Wiggins matters now, do they?
Wiggins transferring uniforms before ever hitting the floor in Cleveland is tough to swallow, but the kid is strong-willed. He’s resilient, and appears to be one of the more intellectual 19-year-old rookies to enter the league in 10 years. I’ll say over 10 years.
It’s rare to find the speed, ability to jump through the arena rafters, and defensive ball pressure that Wiggins brings to the table. He would have made things easier on LeBron in the long-run, potentially transforming into a Kawhi Leonard role — guarding the best wing on the opposing team, and not even being the first scoring option when your team needs a bucket.
How much energy would LeBron preserve if he could mold Wiggins into a lock-down threat and maximize that hellish athleticism? Enough to have a chance at titles when he reaches the 35 or 36 age plateau.
Instead, he’s taking a different approach.
LeBron wanted Love. He wanted to stretch the floor as well (if not better) than he did in Miami with the 3-point threats and a power forward that can be effective anywhere from two feet in to 26 feet out. Wish granted.
Nevertheless, he also will take more responsibility on the defensive end, acquiring more discipline that he’ll have to teach his new, young teammates. Maybe that’s the challenge he wants to take on. Maybe he is fed in the same manner as Kobe Bryant, and always looks for those challenges to keep his motivation on edge.
The work is cut out for them on defense, and that’s up to David Blatt to ingrain in their heads. Last season, Love recorded a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of 1.54, which didn’t stack up too well with the other prominent power forwards that seen minutes. In fact, his placement leaves question marks:
Cleveland has the shooters lining up across America to join them, and they already signed them. Mike Miller and James Jones supplies the bench depth they’ll need to grind through the dark days of February, March, and April, and Shawn Marion is likely coming along as well.
Forget about old man Ray Allen? Retirement doesn’t sound as good as this intervention in Northeast Ohio.
Wiggins’ tenure with the conference favorites ended before it even began. That, too, isn’t a bad thing for him individually.
He’ll just have another dinner table to feast on. A much colder, dispassionate one.