Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love: Why Potential Trade Makes Sense for Cavaliers

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIJuly 14, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt, left to right, Andrew Wiggins and general manager David Griffin hold up Wiggins jersey during a new conference Friday, June 27, 2014, in Independence, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Andrew Wiggins could be an All-NBA player. Kevin Love is an All-NBA player.

Wiggins is a project—an athletic wing with transcendent open-court and defensive potential but a developing jumper and half-court skill set. Love is proven—a unique, 6’10” 4 who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds while burying 37.6 percent of his 505 three-point attempts in 2013-14.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' front office knows that. So does new head coach David Blatt. reported Friday that Love would commit long-term to the Cavaliers if the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to send him to Cleveland.

Blatt told reporters on Saturday that Wiggins would not be traded for Love, which is the latest development in trade talks between Cleveland and Minnesota.

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, that would be a deal-breaker:

Cleveland has no reason to be stubborn here.

With Wiggins instead of Love, the Cavaliers will be good in 2014-15. They signed LeBron James on Friday. They have Kyrie Irving, one of the game’s best point guards.

Wiggins and James will form one of the most formidable perimeter defenses in the league. The rookie will score in transition and contribute opportunistically in the half court.

Even without Love, USA Today's Chris Chase indicated that Cleveland is Vegas’ favorite (4-1) to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. However, that’s likely a combination of overreaction to James’ signing and anticipation of the Cavaliers trading for Love.

Stick Love in a lineup with James and Irving, and Cleveland becomes the unequivocal title favorite.

Consider this: Love isn’t just an All-Star. He’s not just one of the NBA’s most productive big men. He ranks right up there with James and Kevin Durant—yes, the two men who have combined to win five of the last six MVP awards—among the league’s elite.

Love’s 14.3 win shares in 2013-14 ranked third in the NBA behind Durant’s 19.2 and James’ 15.9.

He posted a usage percentage of 28.8 and offensive rating of 120 last season, ranking eighth and ninth in the NBA in those respective categories.

Only Durant and James ranked higher in both advanced statistics. In other words, only Durant and James were more efficient offensively while using a higher percentage of their teams’ plays.

2013-14 Advanced Statistics
NameUSG%NBA RankORtgNBA Rank
Kevin Durant33.01st1234th
LeBron James31.04th1215th
Kevin Love28.88th1208th
Basketball Reference

For reference's sake, indicates Wiggins produced an offensive rating of 112.3 while using 25.5 percent of his team’s possessions in 2013-14, according to That, of course, was in college.

Apples to oranges, yes. Nonetheless, those numbers underscore Wiggins’ need to develop offensively. He has the tools to be an elite defender—a title Love could never dream of obtaining—but he’s a few years away from being an all-around force.

Love would fit seamlessly into Cleveland’s lineup right now and in a few years as well, barring health issues.

Irving and James wouldn’t have a third running mate in Wiggins, but Love would stretch the floor, freeing them to attack and create in the half court. Chris Bosh stretched the floor for James and Dwyane Wade, and we all witnessed how that helped Miami reach four straight NBA Finals.

This trio could be even better offensivelynot to mention Love is one of the NBA’s best rebounders.

It also doesn’t hurt that Anderson Varejao would complement Love well down low as a hard-nosed post player sharing space with the versatile All-Star.

Of course, Cleveland will need to offer more than just Wiggins in exchange for Love. According to, the Timberwolves already rejected a package including Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a first-round draft pick. 

This suggests Cleveland could avoid trading Wiggins by involving a third team.

If the right scenario materializes and the Cavaliers can acquire Love while keeping Wiggins, they would pull the trigger immediately. However, missing out on Love to hang on to Wiggins would be a mistake.

The city of Cleveland has not produced a championship-winning professional sports team since 1964, when the Browns defeated Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship Game. It’s been an agonizing 50 years for Cleveland sports fans, to say the least.

The city craves a championship.

With Love, the Cavaliers would reign mercilessly over the Eastern Conference—if not the entire NBA.

Without him, the time bomb on James’ two-year contract will only tick louder and louder.


Unless otherwise noted, advanced statistics courtesy of


    Pop Defends LeBron, Rips Fox News Host

    NBA logo

    Pop Defends LeBron, Rips Fox News Host

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Lue Says Don't Expect LeBron to Have 'Rest' Games

    Cleveland Cavaliers logo
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    Lue Says Don't Expect LeBron to Have 'Rest' Games

    Kurt Helin
    via ProBasketballTalk

    IT Opens Up on 'Tough Situation' with Cavs

    Cleveland Cavaliers logo
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    IT Opens Up on 'Tough Situation' with Cavs

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    IT: Cavs Were in 'Panic Mode' with Trade

    Cleveland Cavaliers logo
    Cleveland Cavaliers

    IT: Cavs Were in 'Panic Mode' with Trade

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report