The NBA world is currently playing the waiting game in anticipation of LeBron James making his free agent decision. Depending on what day it is and which report you trust, James is leaning toward re-signing with the Heat or he is favoring a return to Cleveland. A return to the Cavaliers would pair James with Kyrie Irving, but the duo could be joined by Kevin Love.
Although Love reportedly torpedoed a deal to Cleveland before the draft, the Cavaliers may not be out of the race and will indeed pursue a Love deal, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Cavaliers are pursuing a Kevin Love trade with Minnesota, contingent on the signing of LeBron James, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Such a deal could potentially cost Cleveland top draft pick Andrew Wiggins, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
Could a new big three of Irving, James and Love really happen? Let's take a closer look.
Why it makes sense
The King returns
Love 'intrigued' by Cavaliers after LeBron signing
Could the LeBron signing pave way for the Cavaliers to add another star? According to a report, Kevin Love is "intrigued" by the idea of heading to Cleveland.
The King returns
If James does opt to return to Cleveland, it would make a lot of sense for the Cavs to do everything they can to build a championship caliber roster. While it's always great to have young talent, James would put Cleveland in the mode to win now. Trading a few of those assets -- including No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins -- for a proven super star like Love would make the Cavs a very strong contender. Love nixed a potential deal to the Cavs earlier this offseason by refusing to sign a long-term deal with Cleveland. The idea of playing with James and the fact Irving signed a long-term deal recently might be enough to entice Love to change his mind.
The potential trio of Love, Irving and James could be devastatingly good. Depending on what assets the Cavs would be forced to give up, Cleveland could still have some solid young talent to surround it's new star trio. Cleveland is hardly the only team interested in Love, but as Mannix noted, Wiggins as a trade chip outweighs what some other teams can offer. That might be a mandatory card to play too, with Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press noting it's hard to imagine a scenario where Love lands in Cleveland without Wiggins heading to Minnesota.
Why it doesn't make sense
In order to pair Love with James and Irving, the Cavs first need to land James. The odds on that happening vary, but even an optimistic viewpoint likely has a James return at 50-50. Without James, the Cavs would be the same roster Love had no interest in joining long-term. Could his view have changed in the last two weeks? Sure, but it's hard to find a potential catalyst for that change. Wiggins has massive upside and while Love would make the Cavs better next season, parting with Wiggins without the assurance of a long-term deal would be a colossal mistake. Trading a good asset for a one-year rental is risky. Trading a premium young asset and potential future superstar for a one-year rental is the sort of move that gets general managers fired.
Likelihood it happens
Let's be optimistic and assume James is equally torn on where to sign. That would give the Cavs a 5 out of 10 chance to sign James. If they did, a Love deal becomes an option, but it doesn't become a guarantee. Love would still have to agree to sign and the Timberwolves would have to like the package Cleveland is offering. There is no guarantee Wiggins and a few other young players would be enough for Minnesota to make a deal. With so many factors, the idea of Love being traded to the Cavs remains low. Let's peg this at 2 out of 10 odds.