The Cleveland Cavaliers, coming off another Lottery season, have added highly successful coach David Blatt, got All Star Kyrie Irving to sign a 5 year extension, drafted uber prospect Andrew Wiggins and signed the best player in the world, LeBron James. A pretty great haul considering before the Draft Lottery results many were hoping for Doug McDermott and Gordon Hayward. Yet for many fans this isn’t enough. they want more. They want Kevin Love, and some are anxious to trade Wiggins to get him. Here are reasons the Cavs won’t trade Wiggins:
The Letter that James wrote took all the pressure off of the team to compete for a title this year. They still could but James, with his high basketball IQ, noted that they are young and are not ready to compete. So, unlike the last time James was here, the team doesn’t have to mortgage the future to win now. The Letter gives the Cavs some ability to build around the young core while bringing in a few veterans to help take some of the pressure. Instead of trading Wiggins, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett the Cavs can develop them. Instead of trading draft picks as throw ins for vets past their prime, we are looking at you Shaq and you Jamison, the Cavs can use them to bring in complimentary pieces.
Two of the biggest problems the Heat had in the NBA Finals were athleticism and depth. Wiggins helps provide both. Trading him gets rid of your best athlete, and maybe the best in the league in a year or so when he learns to harness his physical skills. You lose the youth that doesn’t get tired, doesn’t get run down in 7 game series, or a long playoff run. While Love is young he isn’t a dynamic athlete and trading 2 to 4 young piece (Wiggins, Bennett/Waiters, and picks) creates a void in that area. The team also loses depth in a quantity trade like the one the T’Wolves are looking to get back. Filling that with the same aged vets from the Heat bench seems like a step backwards.
With James and Irving handling the ball the Cavs should be able to be an up tempo team. Wiggins should be able to beat most players down the floor. Long alley oops and outlet passes could create significant offense. It will also help the Cavs defense from giving up offensive rebounds as teams worry about Wiggins leaking out after shots. A staple of the Princeton offense is the backdoor cut and Wiggins’ quick first step and fast twitch muscles make him a perfect player to run those. With both Irving and James having great passing vision the Cavs will eat up teams this way.
More importantly with Wiggins is the defense you get. One of the biggest issues with James in Miami was that he had to carry the offense and the defense for the team to be successful. Irving allows James to play off the ball and not have to dominate every play offensively. Wiggins does the same for him on defense. Instead of James having to run the offense then come down and guard Tony Parker, Wiggins can take him. Instead of having to pick your poison against Paul George and Lance Stephenson you have two players to lock both down. If the Cavs trade Wiggins for Love, James would be the lone solid defender of the Big 3, with both Irving and Love being below average defenders.
Love is still young at 25 and his shooting will age perfectly fine as it is not based on athletic ability. His defense can only be expected to get worse as will his ability to run the floor at a high level. Wiggins on the other hand is 7 to 10 years away from his athletic ability starting to wain, while also being able to develop more on the offensive end. James on the other hand is nearing the time, especially considering his game minutes, where his athletic ability will wain. His shooting and post game has improved which will need to continue over time as he ages. Having Wiggins to take up the slack for him as he slows down is huge.
The Letter not only took the pressure off for this year, it also gives the Cavs hope that they are paired with James for the long haul. If James plans to live in Akron and likely be a part of the NBA for a long time, having Wiggins with him is a big deal. It is likely that James will look to buy in to the Cavs after retirement. As James thinks long term, Wiggins and Irving are two players that can keep the momentum going from his return. Instead of the future of the Cavs being based on him, it can be passed from him to those two in 6, 7 years. If I am going to possibly own a team I want players who will help my team as long as possible, and that is Wiggins.
Did we persuade you?