It only took a matter of days for the Cleveland Cavaliers to change their mind regarding No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins.
The Cavs were determined to hang on to the former Kansas star, despite reports that his inclusion in a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves would bring All-Star power forward Kevin Love to Cleveland.
Now a report from The News-Herald on Thursday cites a league source as saying the Cavs are willing to deal Wiggins to the Wolves in exchange for Love, at the behest of recently re-acquired superstar LeBron James.
Blessed with a unique blend of athleticism, speed and raw scoring abilities, Wiggins was the Cavs third No. 1 pick in the last four years and even before they re-signed James earlier this week it was believed he would be part of the team’s long-term future.
But James reportedly wants to play with the 6-foot-10 Love, alongside point guard Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs were originally trying to send guard Dion Waiters and 2013 No.1 pick Anthony Bennett along with a first-round pick to Minnesota, but the Wolves insisted Wiggins be part of the deal.
Later Cleveland reportedly told Wiggins he wasn’t going to be dealt and new head coach David Blatt publicly stated it was his understanding that Wiggins wasn’t on the block either.
The Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert have been here before. During James’s first stint with the team Gilbert and the Cavs front office adhered to all of the star’s demands in the hopes he would stay and bring the city its first championship in 50 years. However James abruptly left town, for Miami.
This go-round James has dedicated himself to bringing Cleveland that championship, sooner rather than later, and appears to be in it for the long-haul.
Including Wiggins should trump any offer the Golden State Warriors or Boston Celtics (the two teams most linked to Love other than Cleveland) could offer.
Love has already told Minnesota that he won’t sign a contract extension, and intends to opt-out of the final year of his contract to become a unrestricted free agent in 2015. That essentially leaves the Wolves in the position of finding the best possible offer out there before the February trade deadline.
Love was also reportedly “intrigued” with joining Cleveland, as long as James was there. It’s important to note the Cavs are highly unlikely to agree to the trade unless Love signs a long-term extension.
With James and Irving in tow Cleveland was already favored to win next year’s championship, but adding Love could put them over the top in the weaker Eastern Conference. Love is coming off his best year as a pro with 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last season, while shooting nearly 36 percent from three-point range.
For now Love is a proven commodity, and the Canadian-born Wiggins only has potential on his side.