Andrew Wiggins is going to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs and 'Wolves have a handshake agreement on it. But Wiggins also wants to end up in Minnesota, according to his college coach, Bill Self.
The Kansas Jayhawks head coach told The Associated Press on Sunday that Wiggins thinks playing for the Timberwolves will help him carve out his own place in the NBA. Wiggins declined to meet with the media in Kansas City after helping his former coach run a basketball camp, but Self said Wiggins is excited to be traded.
"When all this trade stuff started, I talked to Andrew and Andrew told me, "I hope I get traded," Self said. "And I'm like, 'No you don't.' And he said, "Coach, I do. It's better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I'm forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they're going to be patient with me and I'm going to be a piece."
For a while now, Wiggins has fought off the perception of not being an alpha-dog on the court. Now, he's not only accepting the fact of what he is but embracing the challenge of changing.
Love to the Cavs
Flip Saunders' patience paid off
By waiting for the trade market to develop, the Timberwolves made a solid deal to acquire Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Kevin Love.
Love to the Cavs
Wiggins might appear foolish if he feels he'll grow more in Minnesota. He'll be missing out on playing for an immediate title contender and learning from LeBron James. But there's a reasonable point to Wiggins' assessment of the situation.
With Cleveland, he would have been a defensive specialist and spot-up shooter this coming season. He might have felt a bit stifled playing fourth or fifth man behind James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. With the Timberwolves, Wiggins will have the opportunity to carry a bigger load, though he won't be alone. Ricky Rubio will help in the playmaking department, and center Nikola Pekovic will be a scoring threat in the post. It's the perfect mix of responsibility and relief for Wiggins to be thrown into the fire without failing.
Minnesota is expected to consummate the trade agreement with Cleveland on August 23 or 24. The T'Wolves are also expected to receive Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick in the deal, and there are reports that Bennett will end up in Philadelphia, which in turn will ship Thaddeus Young to Minnesota.
When training camp opens, Wiggins won't be the the fourth-most important player. He will be the face of the Timberwolves' future, and they'll already have evidence he's ready to take on the challenge of living up to the lofty expectations.
That Wiggins is accepting who he is and excited about the challenge can only make the Timberwolves feel even better about the outcome of Love's departure.