Now that Andrew Wiggins is off-limits for 30 days, what does it mean for Kevin Love?
As expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed both Wiggins and Joe Harris, the team announced on its official website on Thursday. Because of that, the Cavs can't move the rookie forward for another month, meaning their chances of landing Love during that time are extremely remote.
Earlier in the month, I wrote that the Cavs should hang on to Wiggins and instead offer something like Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and two first-round draft picks to Minnesota. With the Chicago Bulls getting involved, though, Cleveland can't afford not to include the former Kansas star.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves still consider a trade package involving Wiggins the best they've had so far. But the fact that Cleveland's going to be inactive allows another team to fill the void:
ESPN sources say that, as things stand, Minnesota likes the Cavs' Wiggins-led offer better than anything else on the table for Kevin Love— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2014
But fact Cleveland now must wait 30 days before Wiggins can be legally dealt does put Cavs at risk for someone else trumping their offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2014
Only Cavs, of teams in Love hunt, can offer potential superstar in Wiggins' class. But Flip Saunders, as we know, is a big Klay Thompson fan— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 24, 2014
Stein mentions Klay Thompson, but from the sound of things in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors remain steadfast in their belief that Thompson will not be a trade chip, per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
Which leads to: Late last night, a Warriors source flatly denied a report that they are, indeed, offering Klay Thompson to Minnesota.
The source in fact sounded wholly and legitimately befuddled when I relayed the report, partly because the source had spent much of the previous few hours explaining to me why the Warriors would NOT offer Thompson in any such deal.
“It’s not true,” the source said of the new report.
You can say this is all just positioning and poker-playing, and there are obviously elements of all of that. As I’ve said for weeks, this is a fluid situation, it’s a negotiation, things can change. Things can ALWAYS change.
USA Today's Sam Amick reported that one of the biggest reasons the Warriors want to hold on to the 24-year-old is that they value Thompson's defensive ability.
In short, they're not willing to ditch the defense.
Their recent refusal to include guard and Timberwolves target Klay Thompson in the deal is rooted in this reality. Losing Thompson not only would leave Curry overexposed defensively in the backcourt but also is compounded by the fact that Love — much like incumbent power forward David Lee, who would head to Minnesota if this deal got done — isn't exactly known as a two-way player. From Lacob on down, this is a major part of the Warriors' internal analysis and something that belies all the initial speculation about how this Kerr era might be defined.
The Bulls have also inserted themselves into the Love sweepstakes. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago is prepared to offer Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson in a trade for the three-time All-Star.
Like the Cavaliers, though, Chicago is a bit handcuffed after signing McDermott to a rookie deal on Tuesday. The 30-day clock is in effect for the Bulls, so in all likelihood, they can only sit on the sidelines, too, and hope that the Warriors or somebody else doesn't make a move.
Without McDermott, the Bulls don't have the pieces to make the trade work.
These three teams look the biggest threats to land Love at the moment, and between the trio, Cleveland has the best potential haul for the Timberwolves. Minnesota won't get back a player of Love's ability, but Wiggins at least offers the potential to become one of the best players in the league.
Even if the Bulls throw in Nikola Mirotic, receiving him, McDermott and Gibson isn't going to have the same impact as Wiggins could have in the NBA. Minnesota's infatuation with Thompson remains puzzling as well. He's not a max player or somebody around whom you build a team.
The Timberwolves are playing their hand perfectly, though. By leveraging all of these trade offers against one another, they're forcing the Cavs, Warriors and Bulls to either improve their bid or get out of the way.
Most likely, McDermott's and Wiggins' 30-day moratoriums will have little effect on Minnesota's desire to trade Love, other than to prolong the saga a few more weeks.
The only thing that could change that is the Warriors changing their stance on Thompson, but that doesn't look to be happening anytime soon.