Perhaps the worst-kept secret in all of sports, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed in principle to a blockbuster trade. The T-Wolves plan on sending All-Star forward Kevin Love to Cleveland in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a future first-round draft pick. However, the deal has been put on pause due to a technicality in the NBA rule book. Wiggins cannot be part of any deal until 30 days have passed after signing his rookie contract.
August 23rd will mark the first day that this proposed trade can be executed by both teams. Until that time, here are five key points of interest that I have kept an eye on throughout this process as the regular season approaches:
1) Will the Golden State Warriors re-enter the Love sweepstakes? I wouldn’t be totally shocked if another team, especially the Warriors, swoops back into the trade discussion at the eleventh hour. Golden State was rumored to have had serious interest in Love, but was reportedly unwilling to part with shooting guard Klay Thompson in their discussions with Minnesota. It will be interesting to see if Golden State, or any other team for that matter, puts together a revised trade proposal for Love before August 23rd.
2) Will the NBA block the trade completely? Kevin Love is rumored to have an agreement already in place with Cleveland to re-sign with the Cavs next summer. If these rumors are true, Love would be simultaneously forcing his way off of one team while retaining the right to sign for a max contract with his new team. If the NBA was to find any evidence of this type of contract tampering, the league could come down with harsh penalties for both clubs.
3) Are the T-Wolves getting too little in return for Love? Call me crazy, but getting one elite-level prospect in Wiggins, one borderline prospect in Bennett, and the Miami Heat’s 2015 first-round draft pick is not great value for a soon-to-be 26-year old franchise player like Love. The longer that this trade saga goes on, the more I believe Minnesota would be better served to hold onto Love and wait for a better deal to come along once the NBA trade deadline approaches.
4) If Love heads to Cleveland, is he destined to become the next “Forgotten Four”? During the Big Three-era in Miami, the production of power-forward Chris Bosh was greatly diminished. A sure-fire franchise player as a member of the Toronto Raptors, Bosh was little more than a glorified spot-up shooter with Miami. Although I believe Love is a more talented scorer and rebounder than Bosh, I can’t help but wonder if Love’s opportunities to score will be greatly reduced while sharing the court with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
5) The Minnesota/Cleveland trade saga could have all been avoided! If the T-Wolves and Cavs would have just agreed to a trade during the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26th, this story would already have reached a final conclusion. Dragging trade talks beyond draft night made it more difficult to include Wiggins in the deal. Furthermore, the constant trade rumors certainly have been a major distraction for all the players involved. In my opinion, the only reason this trade didn’t happen on draft night is the fact that Cavaliers team executive LeBron James was not yet an official member of the team yet. Without the blessing of King James himself, no trades shall ever be consummated in Cleveland.