Wiggins for Love back on the table

Benjamin Polk —  July 17, 2014 — 24 Comments

Tyler the Creator, who look very much like Andrew Wiggins

You have most likely seen the reports that the Cavaliers have relented a bit in their unwillingness to include Andrew Wiggins in a deal for Kevin Love. Here is the original story from the Lake Country News Herald:

Up until this point, it was assumed the Cavs wanted to hang onto Wiggins, largely because of comments made by Coach David Blatt. However, a source said James wants the 6-10, 250-pound Love on the roster. And, what James wants, he normally gets.

Cleveland’s original reluctance may simply have been a negotiating tactic–though if it was, they seem to have given up on it rather early in the game–but the lack of consensus around this issue has been shocking to me. Check it out, two out of four Grantland writers and seven out of 12 NBA GM’s would not move Wiggins for Love. Experts! So let me understand this. You would refuse a trade to pair one of the league’s ten-best players (which is, by the way, a statement of fact), a floor-spacing, glass-eating, high-post passing, outlet machine, with LeBron James while both are in their primes.  Which trade would give you the most formidable Big Three in the league (yeah, I capitalized that) and would automatically make you the favorite in the East. And you refuse this trade because one day, when LeBron is in his thirties and has played some 50,000 NBA minutes, Wiggins has a chance of becoming…one of the leauge’s ten-best players? I understand that it’s painful to let a player with as much talent as Wiggins walk–I’d say we Wolves fans know exactly how painful that is actually–but Cleveland really has no choice.

From the Wolves’ perspective, this is the only trade that has a chance of getting them even close to equal value. Klay Thompson is a nice player and everything, and Flip is right to insist that he be involved in any discussion with Golden State. (Although, please, Kevin Love for David Lee, Harrison Barnes and a future first rounder from a team that would likely be picking in the twenties? That is a hilarious joke!) But, as Zach pointed out some weeks ago, that trade feels, at my most optimistic, like a one-way-ticket to possibly competing for the eighth seed. You’ve just given up one of the two best players in franchise history in exchange for a lot of salary and not much hope for getting better.

No thanks. I’d much rather play out the season with Love on the roster and pray that the animal spirits bless the Wolves with some miraculous change in fortune. (It could happen!!!!!) Barring that, a player of Wiggins’ potential–or at least a draft pick that gives you the hope of landing such a player–is the only way to make this completely depressing situation feel even a little ok.

Benjamin Polk

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24 responses to Wiggins for Love back on the table

  1. I do think that Wiggins is probably the best the Wolves are going to see, but if this happens I hope we see the Wolves go into salary dump mode to prepare to rebuild. Start Rubio, Lavine, Wiggins, Bennet, and Dieng. Get what you can for Martin, Brewer, Buddinger, Barea, and Pek. I know none of those except Pek would really bring much back, but I would rather have a full rebuild and give the young guys a chance. I don’t want another 11-9 seed in the west. Plus that starting 5 seems like it could have some real potential.

  2. If we trade Love for a wiggins package, I agree with you Jordan, however I really hope we don’t trade Love at this piont and start the season with him and see where it leads. Regardless of Love, we should try to get rid of Barea and Martin for sure.

  3. Benjamin Polk July 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Well hopefully they’ll be able to include Martin in the Love deal. I agree, though, that they should set about moving Pek the minute they make this trade. His combination of salary, injury history and lack of rim protection might be a tough sell though.

  4. Jordan, where are we going to get offense with that starting five? None of them are really shooters unless LaVine can improve a lot in a short period of time. I think you would start budinger at the 3 and Wiggins at the 2 to at least hopefully give Rubio one shooter to work with. Maybe we could move pek for someone who can score but that would leave us really thin at center.

  5. Jordan, where are we going to get offense with that starting five? None of them are really shooters unless LaVine can improve a lot in a short period of time. I think you would start budinger at the 3 and Wiggins at the 2 to at least hopefully give Rubio one shooter to work with. Maybe we could move pek for someone who can score but that would leave us really thin at center.

  6. I think Pek has the most value to a team with a rim protecting 4, Pelicans and Thunder seem like the best bet. Pek for Asik would be a dream scenario. Thunder would have to be Perkins and some salary match player, but they don’t really have a lot of players in the 3 million range.

    I thought Gortat was a good comparable to Pekovic based on games played, Gorat is a better defender less of a threat offensively though.

  7. If Love goes Martin absolutely needs to go. One thing that sticks out for me is Martin said he would never sign anywhere without a star. If our star goes, I have a feeling he will demand to go somewhere else anyway. You have to include him in it or find a plan B at that point. I’m not sold on giving up Pek. Say you get Wiggins and possibly Bennett in a trade. Bennett plays the 4 as a second year player and definitely will need to cut his teeth and who is going to “mentor” him on the court? Dieng? I know the assistant coaches are there but they aren’t the end-all of teachings. I know Pek’s salary would look better off the books but idk if having a bunch of inexperience in the frontcourt is the way to go. I would personally really enjoy the frontcourt of Pek, Dieng and a skinnier Bennett.

  8. Not sure where my post went but I do not see how they do this and work the salaries. How much does the unsigned Wiggins contract count when matching up the salaries. and How do we unload Kevin Martin in this deal?

    Also as much as I want Martin to go there is a part of me that would just love to see Barea and Love get traded to the same team. That sadistic part of me, although they say winning cures all so I could see them becoming best buds once the champaign dries.

  9. I disagree – you gotta keep Pek. He’s a deceptively solid defender, fantastic offensive rebounder, and brings balance and an offensive presence to the team that has to be accounted for every game. If we’re building around Rubio, who else is going to be a reliable scorer on the team? Dieng? Please. I am high on him but he’s got a very short track record of effectiveness. We’re about to construct a team of Rubio + super athletic guys who may or may not be able to shoot and we think getting rid of Pek makes us better. I think that’s silly, even if Pek is out 20 games a year. You take him away and it makes it that much easier to game plan stopping the perimeter game. 30-52, here we come! At best!

    I think roll with Rubio, Pek, and Wiggins and see what it gets you. Cultivate a swarming defensive identity, a fast break offense, and lots of put backs. Denver won a lot games doing that in recent years. If we need to trade Pek, do it next year. That way we’ll better know what Gorgui is, and what Bennett is, if he comes.

  10. Once Love is traded keeping a player because he makes the team better now is pointless. Wolves would be in a full rebuild. Pek is a nice piece to a team that is ready to compete now. All he would do is add 5 wins or so and cost the team a better draft pick.

  11. If the Wolves can’t get what they want, which is Thompson from Golden State or Wiggins from Cleveland in any deal for Love, would it be that bad to just let him walk? In one scenario we don’t have Love, and in the other we don’t have Love but we do have a bunch of washouts (and maybe David Lee). I don’t see a meaningful difference in terms of how good the Wolves would be either way. Golden State and Cleveland probably won’t be able to sign him as a free agent without completely gutting their depth (I haven’t actually crunched the cap numbers though). Love will end up leaving millions on the table first by not maxing out with us, and second because he might have to take a little less in order to be on a contender. Love will probably end up on a very mediocre Laker team for the prime of his career. It’s a completely lose lose lose situation (unless of course Wiggins develops into the second coming of Scottie Pippen).

    I don’t expect this to ever happen, but I would love it if the Timberwolves organization had to balls to do it. Looking like we’re gonna get Wiggins anyway after all.

  12. Benjamin Polk July 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Well if you’re trading Love for Wiggins isn’t the idea that your rebuilding around two players in their early twenties? And in that case, doesn’t Pek’s age and contract make him a liability? My feeling is that attempting to keep Pek puts them in that 30+ win range in which you can’t make the playoffs and you also can’t get better. My sense is that in trading Love they would be in tank mode: shed salary, stockpile young assets, spend a year or two losing a lot. In that case, though it hurts me to say it, I don’t think it makes sense to keep Pek.

  13. Benjamin Polk July 18, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    My understanding is that they need to pull a third team into the deal to make salaries work. I have no idea who that might be or how it would work but I assume that is the crux of the negotiations at this point.

  14. Ben Polk I wholeheartedly agree with your post. I really do not understand the national media. I understand the Cavaliers trying to get the best deal they can just as the Wolves are trying to do the same. The national media analysis though makes no sense to me. Wiggins is not a sure thing like LeBron or Tim Duncan or Shaq were when they got drafted. All the draft analysis said that Wiggins, Parker, and Embid were no sure thing. Now Wiggins is more highly rated then last year’s number one Bennett, but umm he is no sure thing. Why the media thinks moving Wiggins for Love is a bad move is beyond me when Love is already a sure thing and LeBron is 30 years old.

    If they make the deal for Wiggins then they should trade Pek, but if they make the deal for Thompson they should keep Pek and try playing Deng and Pek together in my opinion. Wiggins means full rebuild whereas Thompson means they are going to try to win sooner rather then later. Pek’s value is at his highest so do it now if they are going to make a trade.

  15. I get what you’re saying, re Pek, but I think you can keep him for one year and find out how all these new pieces are going to work. He’ll have a ton of trade value at the deadline. I just think giving him up puts a ton of pressure on really young guys to produce, and puts the team on a sub 25 win pace. Do you really trust Flip with a high draft pick?

  16. I trust Flip more with draft choices then free agents choices which is why the Wiggins trade is almost better then the Thompson trade because the Wiggins will revolve more around draft picks. Too many bad free agent moves by Flip in his first year, but I liked the Dieng pick a lot. I have a good feeling about Levine and think he will be a solid NBA starter when all is said and done.

  17. No other Wolf under contract would be in a Cavs deal. The Cavs have to send out about $12.6 million to take back Love, and they’re not sending back Varejao. Bennett, Waiters, Brendan Haywood, and Scotty Hopson would work if they didn’t sign Wiggins before a trade; otherwise, they could sign him, wait 30 days to trade, and not include Waiters or Hopson.

    The conflicting reports make it hard for me to jump too far ahead in this, except that the deals that have been offered before Wiggins was reportedly on the table were so bad that the Wolves would get more assets letting Love leave and renting their cap space to other teams.

  18. In other news LaVine has looked pretty solid during summer league. Wiggins and LaVine could potentially be the most athletic pair of shooting guards in the NBA. That doesn’t mean successful, but they can sure run and jump and if either of them can reach their full potential we will have an All-Star. This is all contingent upon trading for Wiggins, of course, but I think you blow up the roster and hope you can get something for Pek.

  19. SO Pek for KG let KG finnish a wolf and then start his coaching career. What do we think?

  20. Haha, KG would he an awesome coach I feel like. But obviously the wolves wouldn’t get equal value trading Pek just for KG. And the Nets already have Lopez.

  21. farnorth – Bringing KG back would be cool, but I think that ship has sailed. He really hasn’t said much nice about the Wolves since he left. And I don’t think he’s the type to go into coaching either, but you never know.

  22. We need to grab onto this Wiggins, Bennett, and 1st Round trade. If the Wolves aren’t going to accept this offer, we are vastly overplaying our hand. Comparatively with other trade offers we’ve received, this one is by far the best. God, I hate being a Timberwolves fan (due to the fact that I have so much doubt in us actually pulling off a good trade or deal).

  23. I agree IW. In fact I have a hard time believing the Wolves are holding out for more, or value Thompson more than Wiggins. If they have an opportunity to get Wiggins and don’t it will be one of the worse screw ups in the organization’s history. Right up there with drafting Jonny Flynn over Steph Curry and the Joe Smith debacle. If that happens I’ll have to stop watching them (unless Love miraculously decides to stay). The stupidity would drive me insane.

  24. If you get your information from anyone other than David Aldridge, Jon Krawczynski, or Adrian Wojnarowski, you deserve to be worried about the dumb speculation that’s been reported over the weekend. None of the local reporters have reported that any offers have been made or rejected. Though they may be willing to include Wiggins, he reportedly hasn’t been included in any offer so far. I saw someone tweet a report about the Wolves rejecting a deal that couldn’t happen cap-wise. Maybe it gets informally agreed upon soon, but unless the Cavs actually want to get rid of more players in the deal like Dion Waiters and/or Tristan Thompson, any trade with Wiggins couldn’t officially happen until 30 days after Wiggins signs his rookie contract.

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