Jun 27, 2014; Independence, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers first round pick Andrew Wiggins speaks to the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Why Andrew Wiggins SHOULD be Included in a Love Trade

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently reported in a radio appearance that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed, in a sort of handshake way, to a Andrew Wiggins/Kevin Love swap.

The deal appears to also include 2013 first overall pick, Anthony Bennett. Bennett, however, would likely end up in Philly with Sixers forward Thad Young ending up in Minnesota with Wiggins. There could, of course, be other moving pieces as well, but, based on what’s being said right now, the Wiggins/Love swap isn’t an if, but, rather, a when.

The acquisition of Kevin Love to any team should get every fan excited, right? Well, that hasn’t necessarily been the case in Cleveland. Some Cavaliers fans are less than thrilled at the thought of trading the young, exciting, and promising Wiggins. Based on Wiggins immense talent, athleticism, and upside, it’s understandable that some fans would hate to seem him go. He does, after all, have all of the tools it takes to eventually become an elite wing player in this league. Eventually being the key word.

Much of what Wiggins is, right now anyways, is upside and potential. Both of those, by the way, are incredibly valuable in the NBA. So valuable, in fact, that it is thanks to Wiggins that Cleveland is in a position to now acquire three time All-Star, Kevin Love. But back to my original point: Wiggins is not ready to contribute on a contender, and, in case you missed it, the return of one, LeBron James, has made the Cavaliers into one of the top contenders in all of basketball. So, while Wiggins’ upside and potential are incredibly valuable, the Cavs likely value a polished, proven All-Star over the eventual production Wiggins promises to bring.

Wiggins athleticism is going to make him very, no, INCREDIBLY fun to watch this year. He is going to show flashes of brilliance. There is no doubting that. He was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason, after all. But Cleveland isn’t looking for flashes of fun, so to speak. The Cavaliers are in win now mode. After all, Lebron is 29 years old and in the prime of his career. Waiting for Wiggins to develop wouldn’t help Lebron now; it more or less gives Cleveland an elite level wing to take some pressure off of Lebron as he ages, but Cleveland isn’t thinking that far ahead.

For Cleveland it’s all about maximizing Lebron’s prime and getting him as much help as they can while he’s still the best player in the world. Age, after all, catches up to everyone. Sure, Lebron is only 29, and he did preach patience in his SI.com letter, but don’t think for a second that he doesn’t want to win now, next year, and the year after that. Wiggins would be an excellent running mate with Lebron in a few years, no one is denying that. But, for all that you hope Wiggins will be, Love already is.

Apr 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) shoots at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) shoots at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love is a transcendent talent. How often is a player capable of scoring 26+ a night, stretching the floor to beyond the three point line, and be amongst the league leaders in rebounds? Of course, his offensive production will go down somewhat in Cleveland since he will be sharing the load with Lebron and Kyrie Irving, but his efficiency should go up.

If you were creating the perfect offensive partner to pair with Lebron, it would likely look very similar to that of Love. Love, at 6’10”, can space the floor as well as any big man in NBA history, he’s an incredibly crafty and capable low post scorer, and, oh, by the way, he’s arguably the best passing big man in all of basketball. His ability to score the ball from every level is an incredibly rare and valuable trait in an NBA big man. Thanks to his passing, outlet passes especially, he’s capable of creating easy buckets for others. And, last, but not least, his shooting will allow him to play off the ball, which is perfect considering both Lebron and Kyrie are fantastic ball handlers/creators.

The biggest red flag fans seem to have over acquiring Love is the fact that he can opt-out and leave at the end of the year. The Dwight situation is to thank for this. Love has made it known, according to ESPN, that he would be willing to commit long term to the Cavaliers. In addition to those reports, Cavs GM, David Griffin, is no dummy; he would not make any move including Wiggins without assurances that Love would stay in Cleveland long term. If this trade is going to happen, like all reports say it will, then Griffin will request to talk with Love and his agent, and if the Wolves are as high on Wiggins as reports say they are, they’ll grant it.

All signs point to Wiggins being a great player; he should blossom into an All-Star caliber player. He could even become one of the best players in basketball. But, again, Love already is that. Love is ready to win now. Love is ready to step in and play an intricate role in bringing a championship to Cleveland. Fans love for Wiggins is understandable, but once they get a taste of Love and understand how truly great he is, I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll get over it.

In case you still aren’t sold that Love, I’ll leave you all with this youtube video:

Tags: Andrew Wiggins Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love LeBron Lebron James

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