Is it the end of August yet? Unfortunately, Andrew Wiggins is still unmovable for another few weeks, but that hasn't stopped new rumors about a potential swap for Kevin Love from being churned on what feels like a daily basis.
Even Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor acknowledged that Love's probably as good as gone, per Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"I'm saying it's most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that's what he wants to do," said Taylor.
He added what the T-Wolves are looking to get back for their three-time All-Star:
I think when you move somebody like Kevin, who's been an All-Star, that you've got to get a number of players on your team that have the potential of replacing him. Flip (Saunders, Wolves president) has looked at this team and offensively, he's got a pretty good team. Defensively, it's got to be better, so I think that's where some of the areas will be replaced.
Wiggins has been most heavily linked with Love. Sports on Earth's Sean Highkin thought that the deal could be one of the rare occasions when a team could trade a superstar and get something comparable in return:
The best-case scenario for any team trading a player of Love's caliber is to return a player with the potential to be as good or better. Wiggins is the only player on the table that fits the bill. The Warriors are still refusing to part with Klay Thompson, who doesn't have close to Wiggins' ceiling and is due for a massive extension next year. Nobody the Bulls could offer (Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic) has Wiggins' upside. Plus, Wiggins is 19 and going into the first year of a team-friendly rookie deal. The Timberwolves can have him under team control for at least five years, likely eight or nine, the first four of which would be well below market value if Wiggins turns out as good as advertised.
Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in the Twin Cities reiterated that the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the favorites to land the 25-year-old. In addition, they'll have to part with their No. 1 draft pick to make it happen:
If Cleveland is planning to move Wiggins, it hasn't let him know, per Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com:
In speaking to key members of Wiggins’ camp on Aug. 2, they adamantly maintain to CSNNW.com that the Cavaliers have not informed them a trade is forthcoming. This is even despite NBA’s online store recently discontinuing Wiggins’ jersey, Kevin Love withdrawing from World Cup play and Anthony Bennett being held out of pickup games.
All signs point towards a transaction.
“As of now, Wiggins anticipates remaining a Cavalier,” one source close to the rookie said.
Of course, nothing can be done until 30 days after Wiggins signed his rookie deal, which would be Aug. 23. Perhaps that's why the Cavaliers haven't informed the former Kansas star that he'll be on the move. Why tell him before anything can be finalized?
This does put Wiggins in a tough position, though. All of this constant speculation has to have an effect on his psyche. On draft night, he envisioned a fruitful career with the Cavaliers. Now he might not play a single game for the organization.
"I just want to play for a team that wants me. So whichever team wants me I'll play for," said Wiggins in an interview on SportsCenter, via ESPN.com. "At the end of the day you have to remember that the NBA is a business before anything. I'm a rookie. I really don't have too much say."
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla thought of the true victims in this: the fans who bought Wiggins' No. 21 Cavs jerseys:
You should not have bought that Andrew Wiggins Cavs' jersey the day after the draft.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) August 3, 2014
It's hard seeing this play out without Wiggins going to Minneapolis. Before the Chicago Bulls got involved, the Cavs might have been able to pull a deal only including some combination of Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett.
ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported that Chicago has fallen further back in the race, with the Cavaliers opening up some distance at the front of the pack.
But even if the chance exists—no matter how slim—that the Bulls would give up Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson, Cleveland can't afford to gamble that it could keep Wiggins and still get Love. It will have to decide whether it wants the long-term potential and cost control of Wiggins or the immediate impact of Love.
More than likely, the Cavs will pull the trigger and send the rookie packing in order to surround LeBron James with the best possible chance to win right now. The nature of LeBron's deal gives Cleveland every motivation to think about the present and worry about the future later.