The trade speculation that has been circling around Kevin Love all offseason might finally be reaching its logical conclusion. A potential deal sending Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package likely including Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett is a matter of "when, not if," according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors had also been in the hunt for Love, but Minnesota has reportedly narrowed in on Cleveland's offer. Golden State remains hung up on including shooting guard Klay Thompson in the deal, and Chicago can't match the upside of a player such as Wiggins in any potential package for Love.
Cleveland's offer is likely to include the last two No. 1 overall draft picks in Wiggins and Bennett in addition to future draft picks. Love will reportedly still opt out of his contract next season, though it's strictly so he could secure a long-term deal next summer. Love is reportedly intrigued with the idea of playing with LeBron James for the long term.
James' decision to go back to Cleveland in free agency ignited the Love-to-Cleveland rumors earlier this month. James made his announcement in a letter with Sports Illustrated, and didn't name Wiggins and Bennett alongside other members of the Cavs who he said he was excited to play with.
Love turns 26 years old before the start of next season and just posted one of the most impressive individual seasons in the NBA. He finished third in PER behind only James and MVP Kevin Durant while averaging 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He'll be the third member of James' new "big three", joining LeBron and point guard Kyrie Irving. It would give Cleveland three players earning max contracts well into the future assuming Love extends his deal a year from now.
Love has drawn criticism for never taking the Timberwolves to the playoffs, but Minnesota would have had no such problems if it played in the Eastern Conference. The Wolves finished the season with a point-differential of +2.7, higher than two Western Conference playoff teams. In the East, three teams made the postseason with a negative point differential.
Kevin Love trade
Wiggins is the big fish in the trade for Minnesota. He would join Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng on the Wolves in what already looks like an enviable young core. Minnesota is also reportedly going after Thaddeus Young of the Philadelphia 76ers to replace Love at power forward. That may be a sign Minnesota isn't terribly high on Bennett, who had an underwhelming rookie season in Cleveland.
Wiggins cannot be traded for 30 days following the signature on his rookie contract, which happened last week. That means the deal sending Love to Cleveland won't be official for at least three weeks, but an agreement can be reached in principle whenever the teams decide on the supplemental pieces to the package.