After weeks of speculation, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement in principle on a blockbuster deal involving Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports Cleveland will send Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick in next year's draft to Minnesota in exchange for Love. He notes the deal also includes a long-term commitment from the star power forward.
"Cleveland is making the deal with Minnesota with a firm agreement Love will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers on a five-year, $120 million-plus contract extension," he wrote.
Wiggins isn't eligible to be traded for a couple more weeks after recently signing his rookie contract. It sounds like all of the hurdles have been cleared, however. At this point, it's just a waiting game until Aug. 23, barring an unexpected setback between the sides.
Although word of a deal isn't a shock given the intense rumors of a possible deal once LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland, there was still plenty of reaction on social media.
Love is just 25 with six years of experience under his belt. However, ESPN's Numbers Never Lie notes he's putting up numbers that place him in elite company:
Kevin Love is just one of 8 players in NBA history to average 19 Pts & 12 Reb per game, the other 7... ALL in the Hall of Fame.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) August 7, 2014
ESPN's Tim McCormack provided Wiggins' thoughts on the reported deal:
Just Spoke to Andrew Wiggins at NBA Rookie Transition Program - Said Congrats on trade to T-Wolves - He said I didn't know, is it final? Wow— Tim McCormick (@TMcCormickESPN) August 7, 2014
Jeff Goodman of ESPN was one of many to comment about Wiggins, who's been forced to deal with a lot before playing his first NBA game:
Poor Andrew Wiggins.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 7, 2014
The NBA on ESPN had previously passed along remarks from 2014's top overall pick, who said he only wanted one thing when the dust finally settled:
ESPN Stats & Info provided an interesting note about the highly touted rookie:
Via Elias: Andrew Wiggins could be NBA's 3rd No. 1 overall pick to debut with a different team, along with Chris Webber & David Thompson.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 7, 2014
Bryan Armen Graham of Mic News notes how rapidly the Cavs' championship odds have increased during the course of the offseason:
Cleveland's odds of winning NBA title: 60/1 after NBA Finals, 4/1 after LeBron signed, 5/2 after today's trade. pic.twitter.com/8aeNWpfcIo— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) August 7, 2014
The Toronto Star's Bruce Arthur believes it's actually a pretty solid return for Minnesota based on the circumstances:
Also, Minnesota just got two No. 1 overall picks and a first-rounder for a guy who was going to leave anyway. The NBA is so much about luck.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) August 7, 2014
Cleveland might not be done adding yet, either. Chris Broussard of ESPN passed along a rumor he heard during the trade talks:
I heard weeks ago that Ray Allen will join Cavs if they get Kevin Love. We'll see....— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) August 7, 2014
FiveThirtyEight provided a statistical analysis of the Cavaliers with a roster that includes both Love and James. It projects a boatload of wins:
Bleacher Report's Cavaliers lead writer Greg Swartz thinks Bennett, who endured a forgettable rookie campaign, could start turning things around with the Wolves:
Best of luck to @22wiggins. Was nothing but class. Anthony Bennett will surprise people, been working hard to get in shape.— Greg Swartz (@CavsGregBR) August 7, 2014
InsideHoops.com, however, doesn't think the trade should be enough to move Cleveland past the defending champions as next season's favorites:
We'd say the Spurs should still be favored to win the #NBA championship next season— InsideHoops.com NBA (@InsideHoops) August 7, 2014
While that may be true, SportsCenter highlights why opponents are surely going to have their hands full trying to slow down the Cavs' new Big Three:
New Big 3. LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving combined averages last season: - 74.0 PPG - 23.0 RPG - 16.9 APG pic.twitter.com/aAHCePRuxK— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 7, 2014
All told, it's a trade that makes sense for both sides. Cleveland obviously wants to win now following the return of James. Love will help it do that. Minnesota didn't want to watch a major asset walk away for nothing and gets plenty of young talent with upside.
Usually, the focus following a trade is about which side won the deal. In this case, it's fair to say both teams should emerge happy concerning their current situations.
Final judgment can't be made until everybody sees how Wiggins, Bennett and the other first-round pick pan out.