The Best Offer the Timberwolves Will Receive for Kevin Love

With Andrew Wiggins signing his rookie contract with the Cavaliers four days ago, he is now unable to be traded for 30 days (26 now, as the signing took place four days ago). With that, speculation regarding a possible Kevin Love trade has ramped up in the past few days. There seem to be three teams with a semi-legitimate chance at acquiring Love: the Cavs, who remain the frontrunner, the Warriors, who are hellbent on keeping Klay Thompson, and the Bulls, who are probably the long shot destination for Love.

Trading Kevin Love is not ideal. That much is clear. Love is a superstar and the NBA is a league whose fate hinges on where the superstars play. Basketball–unlike sports like football, baseball, or soccer–is a sport where one player really can make the difference in a team. With only five players on the floor at a time, one player can make a big difference. Basketball is not a sport with teams of twenty players like soccer, or fifty-ish players like football. There are only usually 10-12 guys on an NBA team, eight or nine of which will consistently play. Trading a superstar in the NBA almost never yields equal or even close to equal return. Often, teams trading the superstar will get three quarters on the dollar back, if they’re lucky. Lately in the NBA, when superstars have been traded, it has been for a package of assets, sort of a mystery box. Some young players here, picks there, and maybe some cap space too. The deals have looked like those you see in MLB, where a star player is traded for a handful of prospects. It’s almost always impossible to accurately grade the deal when it’s made. You’ve got to wait and see how good (or bad) the prospects end up being, and that can take years. That is precisely the type of deal the Cavaliers are offering the Timberwolves right now. They’re offering Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, as well as several first round picks for Kevin Love. In other words, their two brightest prospects and future prospects for Love. Continue reading

Why the Timberwolves Should Trade Kevin Love For Andrew Wiggins

It’s understandable that the Timberwolves are reluctant to trade All-Star power forward Kevin Love. He’s only 25 years old and averaged 26 points and nearly 13 rebounds per game, making him the NBA’s third leading scorer and fourth leading rebounder. Love gets killed by the media for having never made the playoffs, but he’s never had a teammate who made the All-Star game. Not even once. Right now, with one year left on Love’s deal–thanks to David Kahn, who decided three years ago to save Minnesota’s max deal for Ricky Rubio–the Timberwolves don’t have much leverage. If the Wolves hold onto Love, he will surely leave the team in free agency in the summer. The only thing Minnesota can really do is try to drive up Love’s price, pitting the Cavaliers and Warriors, who are firm in their refusal to part ways with Klay Thompson, against each other and creating a bidding war.

Even though David Kahn isn’t the Wolves’ GM anymore, it’s still hard to see them making the right decision here. Rumor is that they’re more interested in Thompson than Wiggins because they view Thompson as more ready to help them now. It might just be a rumor, but if it’s true, the Warriors are thinking about this all wrong. They aren’t winning now, period. And they sure aren’t winning with Klay Thompson as their best player. The T’Wolves need to realize that they are not going to win now, but they can still set themselves up very nicely for the future.andrew-wiggins-vertical Continue reading

Cavs Make Right Decision and Are Now Willing To Trade Wiggins For Love

The Cavs have finally stopped lowballing the Timberwolves in their pursuit of Kevin Love. No longer are the Cavs only offering Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and a first round picks for Love. The Timberwolves have held out, with the hope of getting Andrew Wiggins in return, and it looks to have paid off. Despite having little leverage, as Love only has a year left on his current deal, the Wolves may get their guy Wiggins. This being after Cavs rookie head coach David Blatt recently shot down the chance of a potential trade involving Wiggins, saying:

“There’s no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed”

Apparently the Cavs changed their mind on Wiggins, and then LeBron reached out to Kevin Love on the possibility of playing together. Or maybe, LeBron reached out to Love, and then the Cavs changed their mind. That makes a little more sense. LeBron gets what he wants. His two year deal, with the player option after year one, may be a way of maximizing the money LeBron earns, but it’s also his way of keeping leverage over Dan Gilbert and the Cavs. It’s a way of putting pressure on management to be proactive and improve the team. Continue reading

NBA GMs are Wrong: The Cavs Should Trade Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love

LeBron made what most people thought was an unforgivable mistake four years ago with how he handled his departure from Cleveland in the hour-long ESPN special, The Decision. It seemed unlikely that’d he ever return to play for his hometown. But he did.

And now that LeBron has returned to Cleveland, the biggest storyline of the NBA offseason will be whether Cleveland adds Kevin Love to the mix before the season starts. The Cavs would love to acquire Love, as long as they don’t have to part with last month’s top overall pick Andrew Wiggins. That’s where things get complicated. Minnesota is reluctant to deal the 25 year old Love, who averaged 26 points and over 12 rebounds per game last season. Even though Love only has one year left on his deal and is unlikely to re-sign with Minnesota in the offseason, the T’Wolves are still hesitant to ship off Love, unless they get a major haul in return. The hardest thing to do in the NBA, especially for a small-market team like Minnesota, is to land a superstar. And the easiest thing to do in the NBA, especially for small-market teams, is to trade away a disgruntled superstar for 75 cents on the dollar. That is precisely what Minnesota wants to avoid.

In a way, the T’Wolves have all the leverage. They know how badly the Cavs want Love. Yet, the Wolves also have zero leverage: everyone in the league knows that Love will be a free agent next summer, and has no interest in staying in Minnesota. Continue reading

LeBron Leaves, Miami Moves on… Quickly

You lose LeBron James. You have two options: wallow in self-pity, or shell out a max deal to Chris Bosh! That’s sort of like those annoying hypotheticals you’d hear in the 8th grade: “would you rather die of a shark attack, or a lightning strike?” There’s no right answer. There’s only two wrong answers, one maybe a little worse than the other.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

Miami fans did their best Cleveland impression, showing no class after LeBron announced he was leaving.

That isn’t to rip on Cleveland fans. They’ve heard it enough, and yeah, they took the anti-LeBron stuff too far in 2010, but if I lived in Cleveland, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. As would any real sports fan. But it is to say that there is another way of dealing with the loss of the greatest player in the league. After LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, nearly every sports fan in the country cheered. And per usual, when Miami fans saw other fans cheering, they naturally joined in. (Cue clueless Heat looking around confused, seeing people clapping, and then slowly joining, and then grinning widely, having no idea why he’s clapping.) Continue reading

Eastern Conference Pecking Order With LeBron In Cleveland

With the news of LeBron rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers, the East was shaken to its core. No more was the Heat’s reign over the rest of the conference, a reign that included four straight Eastern Conference titles. No more was the Cavs’ reign of lottery king, getting the top overall pick in three of the last four years. But, are the Cavs going to instantly turn into Title contenders, like Vegas thinks? That seems pretty unlikely, even if the Cavs do manage to get Kevin Love. After all, the Cavs only won 33 games in the depleted East last season. With the addition of LeBron, they should easily flirt with 50+ wins, but expecting them to beat any of the top teams in the West is premature.

But what about the rest of the East? Are the Pacers still going to try and shop Roy Hibbert? Will they make sure to re-sign Lance Stephenson, no matter what, realizing the East is wide open now? What about the Wizards–will they be able to keep Trevor ‘Plan B’ Ariza, and build on last year’s success? And the Bulls: will Derrick Rose be able to stay healthy and be an All-Star caliber player again? What if the Bulls get Carmelo–would they be the favorites in the East then? (Probably, yes.) And will the Raptors take another step forward and win 50+ games next season? Crazy to imagine them seriously contending for a Conference title, but wouldn’t they?

Let’s do a way-too-early power ranking of the top eight spots in the East and sort this mess out:

1. Indiana Pacers
Hard not to laugh at this, given how they finished last season. This team will win a lot of games in the regular season, but right now they just don’t have the mental makeup of a championship team. They have to decide whether they’re going to pay Lance Stephenson, but given the LeBron news, it’s hard to see them letting him walk. And it’s hard to see them trading Roy Hibbert now too. Keep the core together, hope to rejuvenate the bench, and pray that Lance Stephenson can stay motivated after getting paid. The Big 3 is no longer in your way, Pacers. Continue reading

Dominos to Fall From LeBron’s Signing with Cleveland

Over the next 24 or 48 hours, there will be a flurry of moves in the NBA as a result of the LeBron signing. LeBron altered the landscape of the NBA in one day, and there will be ripple effects felt for a long time throughout the league. Here are just some of the things that could happen over the next few days:

Chris Bosh signs a max deal with Houston.
This is almost sure to happen. The Rockets were Bosh’s backup plan all along, and they offer him the best combination of winning and money. The Rockets have to first move Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to make the requisite space, so that they can sign Bosh, and then match the Mavs’ 3 year/$45 million offer sheet on Chandler Parsons. Everyone will rush to anoint the Rockets as one of the title favorites, but a Big 3 of Howard, Harden, and Bosh is still far away from a title. Where’s the toughness in that trio?

parsons_lhuofKevin Love trade rumors EXPLODE and he probably winds up in Cleveland somehow.
Of course Kevin Love is ‘intrigued’ by joining the Cavs, and then signing there long-term. The Cavs will probably try to offer Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and some 1st round picks for Love. And the T’Wolves will say no to that. The Cavs will have to think long and hard whether they want to give up top pick Andrew Wiggins to create a Big 3 of LeBron, Kyrie, and Love. Continue reading

Why Does Everyone Think Houston Is The Best Fit for Chris Bosh?

Amid speculation that LeBron may be seriously contemplating heading back home to Cleveland, there have been reports that the Rockets have intensified their courting of Chris Bosh. Born in Texas, Bosh would have a chance to chase a title with Dwight Howard and James Harden, forming a supposedly formidable, at least on paper, Big 3 in the West.

The move makes sense for Bosh personally. A few days ago, rumors swirled that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had no idea what LeBron would do in free agency. There is much less coordination on their part this time around in free agency. This time, LeBron, it seems, is keeping his cards close to the chest. He owes nothing to Wade and Bosh, and the LeBron’s only priority is winning. It was reported that Bosh came away from a meeting with LeBron with the feeling that LeBron might very well leave Miami. And, so LeBron told Bosh to pursue other options, just in case.

The team that keeps popping up interested in Bosh is the Rockets. Unlike the Heat who are lowballing Bosh, the Rockets are willing to offer Bosh a max contract. Bosh would get more money and play a bigger role on the Rockets than in Miami. I kind of get it for Houston. They are looking for a third star, and especially a stretch four to create some more room for Dwight Howard down low. But let’s not kid ourselves. A ‘Big 3’ of Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Chris Bosh isn’t nearly as formidable as it may sound. Harden plays no defense. Bosh is one of the softest big men in the league, and has slowly compromised his game, so that now he’s mostly just a spot up shooter. And Howard has been criticized for years now at the dearth of low post moves and poor foul shooting, not to mention the obvious lack of any leadership. Continue reading

The First Hilariously Bad Contract (Offer) of Free Agency

You might be expecting this to be an article on the deal the Pistons just signed Jodie Meeks to. And that would be a good guess. Meeks is nowhere near deserving over $6 million per season. But that is not the craziest thing we’ve seen this free agency. Today, on day two of free agency, the Cavaliers offered Gordon Hayward a max deal. To be fair, it’s not a MAX max.

It’s a lower level max deal since Hayward is in his first post-rookie contract. But that is just an issue of semantics. What is perplexing, is how a player who shot 30% from 3 and 41% from the field is worth a 4 year/$63 million deal. Especially when that player is marketed as a shooter. Hayward is not like Kyle Korver. Hayward’s game is much more rounded out and can do lots of things on the court, but more than anything, he is supposed to be a good shooter. As CBS Sports’ Matt Moore puts it, Hayward is pretty good at everything, but elite at nothing. That’s fine. That’s just another way of saying he’s a versatile player–not a speciality guy. But there is the very legitimate question of how good your team can be, especially in the West, if your two highest paid players are Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. Both guys are probably the third or fourth best players on very good teams. But right, restricted free agency. This is how it works: you have to overpay to pry someone away. Continue reading

Let the LeBron Speculation Begin

As you’ve heard by now, LeBron opted out of his final year with the Miami Heat. So every team desperate and deluded enough is clearing cap space with the hope that they’ll be able to convince LeBron to join their team. The thing is, there are only really five teams with legitimate chances to get LeBron. Zach Lowe mentioned the Hawks and Suns as other unlikely candidates, but all he is saying is that they have the requisite cap space to get LeBron. He’d never go to either of those teams, even if they’re not that bad. Who really has a chance at getting LeBron?

1) Miami Heat
They’re still the most likely scenario for LeBron. He knows their management, respects Pat Riley’s judgement, and still made the Finals last season with its weak roster. LeBron opting out is merely a ploy to motivate the Heat and get Micky Arison to spend more money. It’s a move to push Wade and Bosh to restructure their deals and take much less money. This is the least exciting move LeBron could make. The Heat would need to show LeBron they’re going to completely alter the bench and add some real contributors and fresh legs. Let’s all hope he leaves Miami so that the bandwagons fans in Miami can disappear again. They don’t deserve a good team. Continue reading