While the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls have also pursued Kevin Love this summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers are becoming increasingly confident they have what it takes to secure the star power forward in a trade, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Cleveland is reportedly offering a trade package that would include Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and draft picks.
The Timerwolves have been hesitant to move Love this offseason before carefully considering each trade package, but by offering the No. 1 pick in each of the last two drafts, Cleveland is putting itself in position to blow the competition out of the water. If Wiggins and Bennett are really on the table, it's going to be hard for Minnesota to find a more appealing offer. That is, of course, unless the Wolves want to keep Love for next season in hopes of convincing him to re-sign.
So, is Kevin Love really on his way to join LeBron James in Cleveland? Let's break down this rumor.
Why it makes sense
The Love Saga
Cavs traded pieces they could've used to land Love
The Cavaliers reportedly want non-guaranteed contracts to help them trade for Kevin Love. If only they kept the two they already had at the beginning of the summer.
The Love Saga
It's easy to make the argument this would be a great trade for both teams.
From the Cavs' perspective: LeBron turns 30 years old this season. At the moment, Cleveland's four top assets (Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Wiggins and Bennett) are all between 19 and 22 years old. James likely doesn't want to wait a few years for his supporting cast to physically mature before the team is ready to start winning titles. Love was third in the NBA in PER last season by posting averages of 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. His three-point shooting would seem to be a natural fit around James.
From the Wolves' perspective: Wiggins is the rare type of prospect talented enough to give up an established superstar like Kevin Love for. The 19-year-old may not be ready to make an instant impact on both ends of the floor right away, but he has the ideal size, length and athleticism for a wing player in the NBA. He should be good defender as a rookie and has the tools to develop into a great offensive player one day if he tightens his handle and learns to see the floor better. Bennett struggled as a rookie, but was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft for a reason. He's a big body with good shooting range and the ability to score in bunches.
Why it doesn't makes sense
There's still some hurdles in the way for Cleveland to make a deal work. There was a report earlier in the week that Cleveland is on the verge of signing Wiggins to a rookie contract. Once that happens, he can't be traded for 30 days. To pull off this trade soon, the Cavs would have to keep Wiggins unsigned until a trade with the Timberwolves could be completed.
Minnesota is also reportedly seeking non-guaranteed contracts from Cleveland that would offer the Wolves cap relief. Cleveland had two such contracts on the books before the offseason started, but they don't have any at the moment. The Cavs are working to secure more non-guaranteed contracts, and the deal might be held up until they're able to do so.
There's also the chance Minnesota would prefer more established players than Wiggins and Bennett. If Golden State were to put Klay Thompson back on the table, it would likely make the Wolves think long and hard about accepting the deal. Chicago can also offer a package of veterans that would include Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler.
It seems like LeBron wants to play with Kevin Love. What LeBron wants, LeBron usually gets. NBA trades are always complicated because of the restrictive salary cap, but Love has made it clear he doesn't plan on re-signing with Minnesota after this season. If Cleveland if offering Wiggins and Bennett, the package is likely too good for the Wolves to pass up.