Wiggins’ first summer-league stint had everything
LAS VEGAS (AP) Andrew Wiggins got a little of everything out of a week in Las Vegas.
The opportunity to be teammates with LeBron James? Check.
Fans chanting his name whenever the Cleveland summer-league team was playing? Check.
Highlight-reel dunks after splitting defenders with the dribble? Check.
Trade rumors? Check, again, though he surely could have done without that distraction.
The first chapter of this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick’s initiation to the NBA was more hectic than he could have imagined, starting with the news that James was coming back to the Cavaliers and ending amid rumors that Wiggins himself might not be in Cleveland much longer. And after that sort of whirlwind, the night off he got Friday when the Cavaliers’ stay at the NBA Summer League at Las Vegas ended was probably a much-needed one.
”It’s been a great experience, getting to play, building the chemistry of the team,” said Wiggins, who is expected to sign his rookie contract in the coming days.
Wiggins averaged 15.5 points per game in Las Vegas for the Cavaliers, shooting 41 percent from the floor. There was much to like; his athleticism alone separated him from just about everyone else playing in Vegas over the last few days, and he got to the foul line 20 times in what turned out to be his summer finale.
There’s also things to work on, given that he logged just one assist in 120 minutes of play while being charged with 11 turnovers.
He’s not a finished product, though in fairness, no one would expect him to be at this point, either.
”I was looking at Wigs’ performances,” said Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who raved about Wiggins’ play – and his plans for the former Kansas star going forward – throughout summer league. ”Guy was in double figures every game. He rebounded. He defended. He went to the foul line. He played with intensity on both ends of the court. I thought for a rookie, for a guy with a lot on his shoulders as the first pick in the draft, for a 19-year-old, I thought he played extremely well.”
James’ announcement that he was leaving the Miami Heat after four seasons and returning to Cleveland, where he spent his first seven NBA years, coincided with the start of summer league. So, too, did never ending stream of rumors that Wiggins would be on the move soon, with several outlets reporting in recent days that the Cavaliers have decided to make him available with hopes of landing Kevin Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Of course, anything can happen.
But two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press this week that the Cavaliers’ position – that Wiggins will be in Cleveland this season – has remained unchanged and that he’s not being shopped. The people requested anonymity because neither team was publicly commenting on trade talks, but the rumors won’t stop anytime soon.
Wiggins said the Cavaliers haven’t given him any reason to worry, and said he lets his agent and support system deal with the churning of the rumor mill.
”I just play basketball,” Wiggins said.