For two weeks the NBA trade market was filled with nothing but rumors and speculation because teams were waiting to figure out what was going to happen with LeBron James.
After the LeBron domino dropped in a first-person article told to Lee Jenkins on SI.com, everything that has been rumored and discussed for the last two weeks can now come crashing down so fast that it might register a few points on the Richter scale.
Teams know what the market is going to look like now, so more trades are going to go through. That lack of action over the last two weeks makes all these rumors floating around more substantive right now.
We've got the latest and greatest on the trade rumor front, specifically as it relates to LeBron's decision as well as its meaning for the future direction of the NBA.
Cavaliers Trying To Build A Power Team
It's been four years, dating back to "The Decision," since anyone took the Cavaliers seriously. Owner Dan Gilbert made empty promises on the team's website after LeBron left, which is evidenced by the franchise's .311 winning percentage since 2010.
However, there is a dynamic shift happening that has Cleveland at the center of the NBA world. Kyrie Irving signed a five-year extension with the team; LeBron made the decision to go back home; and Kevin Love is being discussed in trade proposals, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Cavaliers are pursuing a Kevin Love trade with Minnesota, contingent on the signing of LeBron James, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
ESPN.com's Marc Stein expanded on that report, noting Love seems open to the idea of signing a long-term deal with Cleveland if a trade happened.
Source close to situation says Kevin Love indeed "intrigued" by idea of being dealt to Cavs and would commit long there if traded there— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2014
The Cavaliers are in an interesting spot, though like LeBron said in the SI.com piece, "it will be a long process" to win a title. Irving's extension opened the floodgates since the assumption for a long time had the All-Star point guard playing out his rookie deal and signing elsewhere.
With Irving and LeBron now in the fold for the foreseeable future, Cleveland has two legitimate superstars to build around and is at least in the discussion to acquire Love.
With the King coming home, suddenly Love looks at Cleveland and sees a franchise that is built to win big right away.
Andrew Wiggins Left In Limbo
Just because LeBron is coming back to Cleveland doesn't mean that everything with the current Cavaliers roster is hunky-dory. In fact, one of the big pieces of the puzzle, Andrew Wiggins, who was just taken with the first pick in June's draft, finds himself in a position of uncertainty.
Based on word from rival executives, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Wiggins will be made available at some point in the discussions for a deal involving Love.
As the LeBron after-effects crank up, word among multiple team execs is No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins will be in play in Kevin Love trade.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
However, as we've learned many times over the summer, don't count your reported speculation chickens before they are hatched.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports noted that Wiggins' entourage doesn't see a trade to Minnesota coming.
At the moment, Cavaliers rookie swingman Andrew Wiggins' camp believes he won't be traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 11, 2014
Then, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio added this report from a Cavaliers' source about Wiggins' future:
FYI: Again, Thursday afternoon, Cavs source told @FOXSportsOH: "Andrew Wiggins is not being traded."— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 11, 2014
Even though the Cavaliers are suddenly in win-now mode, dealing Wiggins now wouldn't speak well for the team's ability to draft and develop young talent. Keep in mind that 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett looked like a flop of epic proportions last year with 4.2 points per game.
Granted, if you can trade a player whose ceiling is enormous even though he hasn't played a pro game for an established superstar, you do it whenever possible.
What's the smarter play for Cleveland?
But it's also important to keep in mind that Cleveland's cap situation is about to get murky once LeBron agrees to a deal and Irving's extension is factored in. They will have some money to play with, but can they field a team built on LeBron, Irving and potentially Love?
Suddenly, the Cavaliers would find themselves in the situation that Miami was in last year, one that forced Mike Miller to be amnestied because the team had no roster flexibility at all.
Wiggins can also be an excellent understudy for LeBron. The rookie isn't the dynamic scorer or athlete that the four-time MVP is, but he's a tremendous defender who has great length as a 6'8", 200-pound shooting guard.
Really, with this new-look Cavaliers roster, the team is in a win-win situation with whatever they decide to do. Love would certainly generate more instant buzz, but Wiggins potentially gives the franchise a third superstar, and he won't cost much money right away with his rookie contract.
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