With the 30 days up since No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract, the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially dealt Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-way trade that nets the Cavs star power forward Kevin Love, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Cavs 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett joins Wiggins in Minnesota, along with Thaddeus Young, who heads to the Wolves from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers get the expiring contracts of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and the Miami Heat's 2015 first-round pick via Cleveland.
The trade is a long time coming for Love, who has been the subject of trade rumors ever since he expressed displeasure with Wolves management in 2012. The Cavs weren't serious players in Love trade talks heading into the offseason, but after winning the draft lottery and signing LeBron James, there was a prime opportunity to make another big splash.
Kevin Love Trade
Kevin Love Trade
There was some early debate over trading Wiggins, but Cleveland relented and ultimately came to an agreement in principle to acquire Love, who had a career year in Minnesota last season, averaging 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds.
By adding Love, the Cavs now have a formidable Big Three of Love, James and Kyrie Irving. Young talent in Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson remains, while Anderson Varejao is a solid veteran presence down low when healthy. Cleveland has signed veterans Mike Miller and Shawn Marion to bolster its wing depth, and a Ray Allen signing is still a possibility. With star power and solid depth, the Cavs are favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and a surefire title contender.
Love won't sign a long-term extension immediately, but he's expected to opt out of his contract after next season and then sign a new max contract in Cleveland. The Cavs will be a formidable power for years to come with the 25-year-old Love entering his prime, James in his prime, and Irving still just 22 years old.
Giving up a star player in Love is never ideal, but the Wolves made out pretty well by acquiring Wiggins, Bennett and Young. While Wiggins is raw, he has major upside and could be a star in a few years. Bennett really struggled in his rookie season, but he's still young and has showed signs of improvement this summer.
Snagging Young from the Sixers was a nice get, especially considering the Wolves didn't have to flip Bennett to get him. Young is still only 26 years old and has an affordable two years, $19.4 million left on his contract. Young averaged 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, and he'll likely start at the 4 for Minnesota next season.
For Philadelphia, the deal is simply about acquiring more assets as they continue a long rebuild. The Sixers get worse by trading Young for two marginal players in Mbah a Moute and Shved, but their prize is the future first-round pick. Mbah a Moute will also help ease 2014 first-round pick Joel Embiid's transition to the NBA, as both players hail from Cameroon.