Andrew Wiggins Shouldn't Be Dangled as Trade Bait in Potential Kevin Love Deal

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2014

INDEPENDENCE, OH - JUNE 27:  First overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins of the Cleveland Cavaliers is introduced to the media alongside Head Coach David Blatt and General Manager David Griffin at The Cleveland Clinic Courts on June 27, 2014 in Independence, Ohio in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Just because the Cleveland Cavaliers have the current LeBron James doesn't mean they should jettison the next LeBron James. Andrew Wiggins is a large part of the team's future plans.

As almost every sports fan knows by now, James has officially announced his return to the Cavs.'s Brian Windhorst reported that the deal is for two years and $42.1 million.

With LeBron on board, the gears are already moving for a potential Kevin Love deal. The Minnesota Timberwolves will surely trade their All-Star before he leaves for nothing at the end of the upcoming season.

Cleveland wouldn't have to worry about Love being on board, per's Marc Stein:

The biggest issue for the Cavaliers would then be what it would take to make the deal happen. Some fans believe that any trade without Wiggins would be impossible. The Cavs will have to throw in the No. 1 overall pick at the very least.

Jacob Rosen of Waiting for Next Year is one of the proponents for including Wiggins in the trade:

The Cavs, however, should remain firm in their desire to hold on to the Kansas star and refuse any such deal in which he's involved.

Lost in all of the LeBron hoopla is how many positive feelings were generated after Cleveland won the lottery and subsequently selected Wiggins, somebody who's been spoken of in the same breath as a high school version of LBJ. Now, Cleveland would have the kind of potential superstar to pair with Kyrie Irving and take the franchise forward.

Sure, Wiggins might turn into a complete bust, but ask almost any expert, scout or NBA executive and they would say that he's one of the highest-ceiling players in the 2014 draft.

To their credit, the Cavaliers are at least presenting the image that they want to keep Wiggins, per Windhorst and Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

The only scenario in which Wiggins should be a trade chip is in the event that demand for Love was extremely high and other teams were on the verge of completing a deal.

For all intents and purposes, though, Cleveland arguably has the leverage over Minnesota.

The Golden State Warriors, once viewed as the other top contenders to land Love, insist on not including Klay Thompson, per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:

If the Warriors are out at the moment, the Timberwolves don't have too many other takers. The Boston Celtics have registered interest, but the chances of that deal happening seem slim, via Jackie MacMullan of The Celtics would have a hard time convincing Love to sign an extension, not to mention they don't have many assets to offer the T-Wolves.

Maybe this is too pie in the sky, but is it all that crazy to argue that the Cavaliers would only have to give up some combination of Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett in addition to some first-round draft picks?

Waiters and Thompson are both top-five picks, the former of whom could still grow into a versatile scorer and the latter of whom is a tremendous rebounder and improving offensive threat. Bennett's viewed as a joke by some, but he's still only 21 years old. Now that he's healthy and in shape, he should be miles better than he was last season.

Trading superstars never yields fair value in return. The key is making the best of a bad situation.

Those guys give the Timberwolves some pieces to build around in the future and the chance to build through the draft, which is the only way for a smaller-market team to turn into a contender. Marquee free agents aren't heading to Minnesota anytime soon.

Admittedly from the Cavs' perspective, part of this all brings back memories of when the Cavs were close to acquiring Amar'e Stoudemire for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson. Cleveland ended up hitching its wagons to Hickson, losing out on Stoudemire and then LeBron, too, en route to becoming the worst team in the league.

When you get a chance to add a player of Love's quality, you take it, even if it means trading a promising rookie like Wiggins.

However, the Cavs may just be able to have their cake and eat it, too. If they play hardball long enough, Minnesota might have to decide between taking a lesser deal and losing Love for nothing. At least getting Thompson, Waiters and/or Bennett would help to soften the blow.