Updated at 4:41 p.m. EST
While no last minute snags were expected, the Phoenix Suns could complicate things for Cleveland. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Suns contacted Minnesota regarding Love Thursday, and offered point guard Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade deal.
The story indicates that Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia are still expected to complete their reported deal Saturday.
Bledsoe is certainly an intriguing player, who offers far more offensive fire power than current starter Ricky Rubio. But the potential that Wiggins and Bennett both possess, on top of the solid production from Young, seems like a much better deal for the Wolves.
Bledsoe and the Suns have reached an impasse during contract negotiations. Bledsoe is seeking a five-year, $85 million maximum, but Phoenix is only offering $48 million over four years. Should the two sides fail to agree, then Bledsoe will reportedly sign a one-year qualifying offer worth $3.7 million, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
The most anticipated trade of the NBA offseason will finally be consummated. ESPN reported Friday that the Minnesota Timberwolves will acquire forward Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia on top of this year’s No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013’s top selection Anthony Bennett, with the Cleveland Cavaliers attaining All-Star Kevin Love. The long speculated deal was held up by league rules that don’t allow teams to trade a draft pick until 30 days after he’s signed a contract. With no last-minute snags expected, the trade will be completed Saturday.
With the smooth-shooting rebound machine Love and four-time MVP LeBron James in tow, the Cavs are now heavy favorites to win the Eastern Conference and possibly the NBA title this coming season. Cleveland hasn’t made the postseason since James left for Miami in 2010, but along with Kyrie Irving the Cavs should have one of the more exciting offenses in the league.
After missing the playoffs every year since he entered the league in 2008, Love has grown into one of the league’s top 10 players, but Minnesota’s failed to surround him with a reliable supporting cast. The Wolves were hoping to keep Love, but he reportedly stated his intention to opt-out of his contract and enter free agency in 2015. Ultimately the franchise was forced to find a trade partner rather risk losing their best player for nothing in return. ESPN’s latest story doesn’t say whether Love intends to sign a contract extension with Cleveland, and reports throughout the summer stressed that Love wanted to test free agency.
However, it’s likely the Cavs have some assurances from Love that he will stay with the team; otherwise the inclusion of Wiggins in the deal becomes far too risky. Cleveland was initially hoping to hold on to Wiggins, but Minnesota insisted on his inclusion. The 19-year-old broke scoring records during his one season with Kansas, and has been one of the most touted prospects to enter the league since James.
Minnesota will also give the Sixers a future first-round pick, forward Luc Richard Mbah A Moute and point guard Alexey Shved, both entering next season with expiring contracts. Young still has two years left on his deal.
Even though the rebuilding Sixers are coming off one of the worst seasons in their history, Young posted the best season of his seven-year career with 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. He doesn’t provide the long-range shooting or as much help on the boards like Love, but he can step in and start for the Wolves right away.