The Minnesota Timberwolves have set a steep price for coveted forward Kevin Love, and it's very much up in the air if the Cleveland Cavaliers intend to pay up.
Love has been tied to a trade to Cleveland for several weeks now, but the speculation has picked up a notch since the Cavs re-acquired prodigal son LeBron James on Friday.
James inked a two-year, $42 million contract with the Cavs, but intends to sign a longer deal when maximum-level contracts are likely to increase following the 2016 season. The NBA is scheduled to sign a new television rights deal, and thus players are expected to receive a pay bump.
Sources say KLove remains "intrigued" by chance to join LeBron with Cavs. I'm told Wolves, though, still asking for off-limits AWiggins
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 13, 2014
One exec on Cavs chance at K-Love w/out including Andrew Wiggins. "No way. If I'm Minnesota, I want Wiggins, Dion Waiters and two No. 1's."
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) July 12, 2014
The addition of No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins complicates things for Cleveland. While he’s an unproven commodity now, the 6-foot-8 swingman has loads of potential and could even take over the franchise once James retires long down the road.
However, the addition of Love would put Cleveland in line to win the title next season. He’s one of the most versatile players in the league, and is coming off his best season with averages of 26.1 points,12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Love also has deep range, knocking down 36 percent of his three-point shots during his career.
It’s unclear what Cleveland will do next, or if they are willing to part with Wiggins even if it does mean landing Love. ESPN reported that the Cavs told Wiggins he won’t be traded, and instead offered guard Dion Waiters, former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick for Love. But Minnesota is insisting on Wiggins's inclusion in the deal.
But CBS Sports reported that multiple team executives around the league believe Cleveland will consider trading Wiggins.
New Cavs head coach David Blatt, however, dismissed any chance of Wiggins being traded.
"There's no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew's not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed," Blatt said to reporters Saturday after the Cavs Summer League practice.
As of now the Wolves have the upper hand since they can wait until the February trade deadline to move Love, who said publicly it hurts that he’s never made it to the playoffs since entering the league out of UCLA six years ago.