The closer we get to Aug. 23, the more the Cleveland Cavaliers’ acquisition of Kevin Love becomes reality.
Another step in the process of delivering Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves and alongside LeBron James in Cleveland was reported Thursday night. According to FOX Sports 1 and Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves will receive forwards Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from the Cavs, and forward Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavs will also trade the 2015 first-round pick they received from the Miami Heat (ironically, as part of a package for James in 2010) to the Timberwolves — who will ship it to the Sixers, along with forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved.
In case all of this is confusing, here is the short version with the important moving parts: Love is headed to the Cavs, and Wiggins, Bennett and Young are headed to the Timberwolves.
Love, who turns 26 years old in September, is a three-time All-Star. He averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season. To put that in perspective, that’s a point less and five more rebounds per game than James.
So it’s easy to understand why the Cavs strongly pursued a trade for Love after he and his representatives made it clear he would not remain with the Timberwolves for the long haul — or even beyond next season.
Once James joined the Cavs in free agency in July, the idea of Love in Cleveland became considerably more than just an organization-wide pipe dream. With Wiggins, Bennett and a glut of draft picks, the Cavs were blessed with the type of upside and assets for which the Wolves insisted on holding out.
Wiggins, 19, was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the June draft. While the Cavs initially insisted he wasn’t going anywhere, they relented when other teams started upping their own offers to the Wolves for Love.
Meanwhile, Bennett was the top overall draft pick in 2013, but struggled mightily with weight issues, injuries and a lack of confidence during his rookie season. But much like the Cavs, the Wolves seem to believe Bennett can still be a remarkable pro should he pull it all together.
Still, the idea of pairing Love with resident stars such as James and point guard Kyrie Irving, and contending for a championship right away, gave the Cavs reasons to depart with potential. They have compiled the league’s worst record during the previous four seasons combined, so basically, words such as "process" are no longer in their vocabulary. They want to win big now.
The impending trade for Love, which becomes more official by the minute, offers evidence of that.
1. The Timberwolves are expected to introduce Wiggins, Bennett and Young at a news conference Tuesday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
2. Also, the three teams are expected to announce the trade Saturday, following a conference call with the NBA office. The league office is typically closed on Saturdays, but an exception could be made to finalize the trade — on hold since Wiggins signed his rookie contract nearly 30 days ago.
3. Free-agent guard Ray Allen has not announced his decision on if he will return to the NBA or retire. Allen has said he will likely decide in September. It is believed Allen will join the Cavs should he return, although he has said there is no frontrunner.