Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins' Upside Should Make It Easy for Timberwolves to Deal Kevin Love

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 17: Andrew Wiggins #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the court against the Houston Rockets at the Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 on July 17, 2014 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

For a player who has yet to step on the court in a real game, Andrew Wiggins is getting talked about a lot. Taken first overall by the Cleveland in June's draft, the 19-year-old is already the subject of the hottest trade rumor in basketball.

Of course, Kevin Love would be the real prize in any potential deal involving Wiggins. Love is the established star, would be moving to Cleveland and playing alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to solidify the Cavaliers as championship favorites.

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, the latest trade proposal between Cleveland and Minnesota involves a host of No. 1 picks in exchange for Love:

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered on Kevin Love and the league's past two No. 1 draft picks, league sources told ESPN.

In an attempt to add Love, a three-time All-Star, the Cavaliers are willing to part with Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

One source said the Cavs also are willing to give up a first-round draft pick for next season. Any other players involved in the talks are not known.

For all the talk of what Love would do for the Cavaliers, why isn't anyone talking about what Wiggins would offer the Timberwolves?

A deal involving Wiggins can't happen until August 23 after the Cavaliers officially signed him to a rookie contract on July 24:

Yes, there are a mountain of what-if scenarios that have to go right for Wiggins to be the star he's projected to become, but everyone knows the ability is there. Cleveland certainly did when it made him the No. 1 overall pick.

Seerat Sohi of ESPN.com wrote a breakdown of Wiggins and the "power of potential" in this current era of the NBA when everything is all about winning now:

There’s nothing wrong with nosediving in the possibilities of what isn’t yet known -- it’s a lot of fun! That's the entire point of the draft. But curiosity needs to be measured with an eye toward reality. Combine too many unknowns and the ground underneath them starts to get shaky. Trading Wiggins for Love wouldn’t sell the future for the present; it would stabilize both. 

That last line is critical to what the Timberwolves have to be thinking as they debate what to do with Love. There are options being floated around, with Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops reporting the Bulls have offered a solid package built around Taj Gibson for Love:

Gibson does provide more immediate value than Wiggins. The power forward averaged a career-high 13.0 points per game last season while also posting 6.8 rebounds per contest. Basketball-Reference.com indicates he ranked 18th in the league in defensive rating. 

However, at 29 years old, Gibson is likely as good as he will ever be. There's value in a big man who can play defense, but when that value has already reached its full potential and isn't that of a game-changer, should you really trade one of the best players in basketball for a package built around him?

Wiggins, on the other hand, doesn't have that present value.

He showed during Las Vegas Summer League that shooting is still a problem (.405 overall, .154 from three-point range), but at 19 years old, there is no reason to think things won't come together.

If the Timberwolves ultimately decide to trade Love, they need to get the best deal they can to build for the future. Wiggins is what they need, and they would be foolish to accept any other deal.

 

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