Why do the Cavs Have to Choose Between Love OR Wiggins?
The pufferfish. Puffitus Fishantum (reference not available). A diminutive aquatic animal who when threatened by a predator can ingest enough water to increase its size to several times its original. This defense mechanism is not unique to the pufferfish but perhaps most recognized in reference to it.
Just last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers were plankton in the sea that is the NBA. However, after a certain major free agent signing that was preceded by a few sleepless nights and constant refreshing of Twitter and athletic web pages, they quickly became sharks. Now, they've been engaged in trade talks for Kevin Love with the Minnesota Timberwolves but the Wolves are acting like pufferfish.
Minnesota is demanding Andrew Wiggins, the most recent top draft choice and summer league highlight reel, in any deal that would send Kevin Love to Cleveland. Cleveland is refusing to give up Wiggins and throwing other pieces Minnesota’s way. Both teams have yet to blink.
This standoff has sparked a national debate: “Would you trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?” I want Kevin Love. I want to keep Andrew Wiggins. I think both of these conditions can be satisfied. I believe I can have my cake and eat it too.
While Minnesota is the current home to Kevin Love, I fail to see what leverage they hold. Love has an opt-out option at the end of this season and has already told the Timberwolves that he won’t be returning to their organization. Other trade offers sent Minnesota’s way have yet to impress (Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, and Arron Afflalo via Orlando from Denver doesn’t exactly blow my skirt up). Golden State seems to be the other major player in the Love sweepstakes but has so far refused to include Klay Thompson in their offer. And why should they for a potential rental? Unlike his stated intrigue to sign long-term with the Cavs, Love has not offered any sort of commitment Golden State’s way.
Apparently, talks between Minnesota and Golden State have resumed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a tactical move by Minnesota to try and get the Cavs to budge on Wiggins especially after Cleveland’s lowball offer of Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters, and a first round draft pick. The Cavs have a plethora of trade pieces to send Minnesota’s way including close to a billion picks and multiple young guys under team control for more than this season. Rather than throwing Wiggins into the mix, why not add on future first rounders? A team with LeBron, Love, Wiggins, and Kyrie Irving isn’t going to be drafting in the lottery any time soon. If they kept those picks, we would probably see some Christian Eyenga-esque players drafted – international guys who we won’t have to / won’t have the ability to pay right away. Why not increase the original offer by two first round draft picks?
Minnesota can gamble and wait until the season starts all the way up until the trade deadline to see if any better offers come their way. But they risk a Kevin Love injury and / or depreciated return as the rental period shrinks. Unless someone comes in with a Godfather offer, I like the Cavs’ chances of snagging Love without surrendering Wiggins. The Wolves can get some valuable pieces for their future now or risk getting nothing when he walks next summer. It just depends how quickly they return to their natural size.