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

Shabazz Napier’s Social Media Breakup With LeBron

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Heat selected Shabazz Napier with the 24th pick in the draft to appease LeBron? Shabazz wasn’t going to be the reason that LeBron would stay in Miami, but making the effort to trade up and get Napier would be a small gesture to LeBron. Not a big shiny anniversary ring or anything, but a small little gift as a token of their appreciation for what LeBron had done–just an example of the commitment they had to LeBron and his vision of the team. Pat Riley claimed he was a fan of Napier’s game anyway, and that the move was not purely to appease LeBron:

“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA [tournament] about him. Why not. If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”

But everyone knew that was BS. Ever since the NCAA tournament, LeBron had been complimenting Napier’s game and ability to run a team. Napier seemed to be profoundly lucky. Not that he wouldn’t have already been selected in the first round of the draft, but to having the best player on the planet so fond of you is definitely good for pro prospects. 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

Cleveland Looking like LeBron’s Destination

The round-the-clock Tmz-style stalking of LeBron James’ life has hit an all-time high in the past few days. The entire NBA free agency pool had basically stalled waiting for LeBron to make his decision, but things seem to be picking up steam now. The Cavs completed a massive three team deal earlier today to clear the requisite space so that they can offer LeBron a max deal. It’s a gamble considering the Cavs gave up several valuable assets just for the chance at LeBron. Don’t get me wrong. If the Cavs get LeBron, it’s obviously worth it. But that’s a big if.

A few hours after the news of the Cavs deal, a flurry of signs pointed toward LeBron returning to Cleveland. There were rumors that the Cavs were targeting Mike Miller and Ray Allen, two free agents that LeBron has a history with. Then there were the moving trucks outside LeBron’s house in Miami. And then there was the next-level stalking, spotting LeBron’s kids at the airport en route to Cleveland. Continue reading

Grading the Deals Made on the First Day of Free Agency

Nearly all of the focus on this free agent season surrounds the Heat. How much less money will Wade and Bosh take? Is LeBron really going to take the max? Are they going to add some second-tier free agents? For now, all we really know is that their roster will look significantly different next season. For now, let’s focus on the deals that have been made. There were three deals today worth examining.

1. Wizards re-sign Marcin Gortat for 5 years/$60 million.
Washington had its hands tied. They had been so irrelevant since the departure of Gilbert Arenas, until last season. Reaching the second round and taking two games from the Pacers, the Wizards finally had a taste of success. The Wiz pretty much had to re-sign expiring Gortat in order to keep any momentum going. Gortat is firmly in his prime right now, 30 years old, and complements Nene well. And the East is weak enough to make plenty of barely-above-average teams feel like contenders. The Wizards are not winning an NBA championship with a Wall-Beal-Ariza-Gortat nucleus. They can contend in the East, but that is much different than contending for a title, as we saw in the Finals when San Antonio whooped Miami. This may be a deal that looks pretty bad on the back end when Gortat is 33 or 34. Right now though, good centers are hard to come by, and Gortat is one of the few guys who can do this. Are the Wizards deluding themselves into thinking they’re a legitimate threat to the title? Yeah, probably. Is this a move purely to stay falsely relevant? (Nodding nervously.) But, if the move keeps the Heat from poaching Gortat, then I’m all for it. Continue reading

Raptors and Hawks Make a Trade: Free Agency Implications

Two Eastern Conference playoff teams made a trade last night. The Hawks sent streaky scorer Lou Williams and Brazilian big man Lucas Nogueira to the Raptors for John Salmons. It’s a classic NBA trade, really. It’s essentially a ‘contributor for cap space’ deal. The Raptors acquire another piece that they think will help them reach the next step in the Eastern Conference, and the Hawks receive John Salmons, whose contract has a team option that the Hawks will promptly decline. The deal will give the Hawks around $4.5 million extra cap space this summer, since waiving Salmons’ contract has a $1 million buyout. Lou Williams had his worst season in over five years, coming off his ACL tear from the previous season. He didn’t ever make an impact in Atlanta, like he had in Philadelphia, where he finished second in the 6th man of the year award voting in 2012. He was second only to James Harden, one of the best players in the league. The bigger loss, in the Hawks’ eyes, is last year’s first round pick Lucas Nogueira, a 21 year old project big man from Brazil. With REALLY COOL HAIR. Continue reading

The Puzzling Arron Afflalo Trade

img17609972The Nuggets traded Arron Afflalo for Andre Iguodala a few years ago, as part of the Dwight Howard trade. Then the Nuggets traded Iguodala after a year, as part of a deal full of expiring contracts and draft picks, that yielded a trade exception. Then today, the Nuggets used that same $9 million trade exception to re-acquire Arron Afflalo, for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in tonight’s draft. GOOD GOD Nuggets, figure out whether you like Afflalo or not! In a league, where GM’s are constantly trying to accumulate assets, the Magic just threw a pretty valuable one out the window. Don’t try to tell me Evan Fournier is a legitimate asset. The only reason he has any value is that he’s 21 years old. He has yet to show any potential in the NBA. And the 56th pick will probably bring back nothing, as well. The Nuggets get a borderline All-Star in Afflalo, a 28 year old starting shooting guard in the league, who plays both sides of the ball. Go down the list of the best shooting guards in the league. You’ll notice just how thin the position is today. James Harden doesn’t play defense. Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili are old. Jamal Crawford, Monta Ellis, Joe Johnson, and Kevin Martin are just gunners that don’t do anything else. DeMar Derozan probably isn’t as good as stats would indicate and despite making his first All-Star game last year, he is probably a career borderline All-Star caliber player. You’re left with guys like Afflalo and Wes Matthews, very competent and capable starting shooting guards, who probably will never make an All-Star game, but are very valuable.  Continue reading

What the Tyson Chandler Trade Means for the Mavericks and Knicks

The Mavericks are hoping Tyson Chandler is the same player he was in 2011. In 2011, Chandler was the defensive anchor for the Mavs as they beat the Heat in the Finals. They caught many by surprise when they then let Tyson Chandler walk in free agency, signing with the Knicks. They had  struggled in the past few years to replace Chandler’s defensive presence. On the eve of the draft, the Mavericks made a splash, dealing Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, the 34th pick, and the 51st pick all for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. The move frees up some cap space for the Mavs in the 2015 summer, and makes sense since they’re trying to win now. For the Knicks, things are less clear. They have been vocal in their intent to make a splash 2015 free agency, so why commit to $7 million more with the Calderon deal that doesn’t expire until 2017-2018? The Knicks could easily end up trading him before then, but the deal is still confusing. After all, Chandler’s contract only has one more year. Phil Jackson is scheming, and maybe the deal boiled down to getting rid of Felton, as well as picking up a good young prospect in Shane Larkin. Chandler’s worth around the league has probably dwindled a bit in the past two or three years while he’s been in a Knicks uniform, but you would think the Knicks could still at least pick a 1st round pick for him.  Continue reading

The Trade for the #1 Pick The Cavs Need to Make

Yesterday, the rumor was Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and the 5th overall pick for the #1 pick and Jarrett Jack. That is enticing, but pales in comparison to what the Magic supposedly offered. The Magic are offering Arron Afflalo, the 4th pick, and the 12th pick just for the #1 pick. If the Cavs are as desperate as we think–doing anything and everything they can to get LeBron’s attention–then this is the trade for them. This trade helps immediately and is also a move for the future. Pair Afflalo with Kyrie in the backcourt, and they have one of the best set of guards in the NBA. Then the #4 and #12 pick provide flexibility. The Cavs could do a couple things here. They could use the picks and a combination that could yield Julius Randle and Doug McDermott, for example. Or, they could trade both picks to move up, and try to get Joel Embiid, the prospect most experts think has the highest ceiling.Or they could use the two picks to make a trade for a veteran. Could they make a package around Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, the 4th, and 12 pick for Kevin Love. Continue reading