As the world waits to see if the Cavs will pull the trigger on a blockbuster, we examine what makes Cleveland's conundrum so compelling.
By Alex Goot
You've really got to feel for Andrew Wiggins right now.
Normally, after years of hard work result in being chosen #1 overall in the NBA Draft, it's only natural that you get a little time to soak it in, to bask in the glory of being a franchise's savior. But then, of course, in Cleveland, the Cavaliersfound a new savior, one with a slightly higher profile, just a few weeks later. Which means that Wiggins has been left waiting for a call from the King, and answering awkward questions about where he wants to play basketball, something over which he has zero control.
Things are pretty great for Andrew Wiggins, make no mistake. He's already signed a multi-million dollar contract at the age of 19, and when all the dust settles, no matter where he ends up, he'll have the opportunity to be a cornerstone piecesomewhere. Still, you have to figure that all this uncertainty, all this speculation, is more than a little frustrating.
But for the rest of us? Isn't this just the absolute best? We were all under the assumption that the offseason carousel would stop spinning once LeBron, Carmelo, and the rest of the Heatles all made their choices in free-agency. Instead, the drama continues, as we wait through the 30 day moratorium to see if Cleveland will choose Wiggins and his limitless potential, or a proven All-NBA commodity in Kevin Love.
The best part about the Wiggins/Love debate is that there's an absolutely legitimate case to be made on both sides. Want some ammunition to argue for the youngster? Then I highly recommend this piece from Jason McIntyre at The Big Lead. But if you're in the Love camp, then go read the great Tom Ziller over at SBNation, who outlines why the Cavaliers need to pull the trigger as soon as possible. Both of them lay their cases out brilliantly, and what's so fascinating is that the argument is about so much more than simply basketball ability. It's about youth, and fit, and financial flexibility. It's about making the right decision for right now, and for 5-10 years down the road. It's an incredibly complex situation with any number of variables, and that's why we love it so much. Deep down, every basketball fan in the country is an armchair GM, and thanks to the NBA's contract cool-off period, we've got three more weeks to tell each other what we would do if only the Cavs were smart enough to put us in charge.
But let's be honest... would we really want that job? It's hard to imagine the incredible pressure that the Cavaliers' brass is under right now. After all, they've already screwed this up once before. LeBron's Miami excursion came, in large part, because Cleveland was unable to perfect the supporting cast around him. Now, less than a month after the greatest basketball player in the world, remarkably, decided to give them another chance, the team is immediately confronted with a major decision about dealing one of their strongest assets. Andrew Wiggins is almost certainly going to be great. Kevin Love already is great. But choosing between the two of them at the most critical moment in franchise history? That has to be nerve-wracking.
Which is why there's ultimately only one decision for the Cavaliers to make. Wiggins, or Love? Simple... whichever one LeBron wants. They can ask him as soon as he's finished with his Atkins diet, provided he hasn't told them already. But ultimately, the only call for Cleveland to make is to find out from James who he'd rather spend the next few seasons with.
It's funny really. For some reason the sports world has an aversion to a superstar player being able to call the shots for his own team. We cringe at the notion that LeBron, or Kobe, or Kevin Durant should be given some say in roster decisions. Instead, we expect front offices to flex their muscles, and make their decisions independently. But why? Why shouldn't the Cavaliers' personnel be handled by the most important member of their organization? I've got news for you, the most critical piece of the team's future isn't David Griffin, David Blatt, or even Mr. Comic Sans himself. With LeBron James on a short-term contract, every move, every step, should be taken in full consultation with the King. He has the power to keep this franchise in contention for the next 5-7 seasons, and it makes perfect sense to have LeBron fully invested in the team's direction, especially if things take a few wrong turns along the way.
So while we all "Wait For Woj" to tell us whether this blockbuster is happening, we can all continue to enjoy the dialogue about whether or not it should happen. Feel free to jump into the comments and give us your opinion. But make no mistake, the Cavs aren't listening to you, or me, or anyone else with a keyboard. There's only one opinion that truly matters right now in Cleveland. Welcome to Cavs 2.0, where LeBron calls all the shots, because he's the one with all the power. He's earned that much, and I for one, am looking forward to the ride.