Over the past few days there have been several revelations involving the Cleveland Cavaliers likely acquisition of Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love.
For weeks, Love has been tied to a trade to the Cavs and it seemed to be only a matter of time until he played alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, forming the latest version of the "Big Three" in the Eastern Conference.
However, conflicting reports surfaced late Thursday. ESPN first reported that the Cavs and Wolves have engaged in lengthy trade discussions, and Cleveland was the only team speaking to Minnesota regarding Love. Later that day, the Lake County News-Herald reported that Love desired to be a free agent in 2015 rather than sign a contract extension with any team he’s traded to. That revelation should have given the Cavs reason enough to put a deal off, especially with the Wolves insisting on No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins going their way in any trade for Love.
Still, the deal appears to be on. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor spoke to the St. Paul Pioneer Press Saturday and was quoted saying the Love deal was imminent, likely by Aug. 23 or 24, though he didn’t explicitly say the former rebound champion would be headed to Cleveland.
"I'm saying it's most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that's what he wants to do," Taylor said to the Pioneer Press. "I think when you move somebody like Kevin, who's been an all-star, that you've got to get a number of players on your team that have the potential of replacing him.
"Flip [Saunders, Wolves president] has looked at this team and offensively, he's got a pretty good team. Defensively, it's got to be better, so I think that's where some of the areas will be replaced."
Shortly before Taylor’s comments, it was revealed that Wiggins’s Cavs jersey was no longer available for purchase on the NBA’s official website, another sign that he likely will be traded. Not too dissimilar to Love’s decision to pull out of his obligations to USA Basketball prior to the FIBA World Cup last week.
Wiggins, who can’t be traded until Aug. 23 since he signed his rookie deal with Cleveland, spoke briefly with ESPN on Sunday about the rumored trade and said he’s not taking all the talk “personally.” The 19-year-old former Kansas star has shown great resilience and maturity ever since he was drafted, and throughout the summer, even with news reports all but guaranteeing he’d be traded for Love.
"I just want to play for a team that wants me. So whichever team wants me I'll play for," Wiggins said. "At the end of the day you have to remember that the NBA is a business before anything. I'm a rookie. I really don't have too much say.”
There has been at least one indication that the Cavs might still be tinkering with the idea of giving up such a gifted young prospect before he’s ever played a game in the NBA. Those in Wiggins’s camp, according to CSNNW.com, haven’t been told of any impending trade and that he “anticipates being a Cavalier.”
Previously, the Bulls and Warriors were hoping to make a swap for Love, but the Cavs have long been the favorite because of Wiggins, and no other team can offer Minnesota nearly as much.