The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to have a great 2014 offseason. First, they convinced LeBron James to go home to Ohio and then, they are on the verge of acquiring Kevin Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Not only they’ll be getting the superstar forward, the Cavs and Love have apparently pre-agreed to a five-year deal worth over $120 million which means that a long-term partnership between James, Love and Kyrie Irving is seen in Cleveland, which now becomes the top favourite squad to rule the Eastern Conference in the 2014-2015 NBA season and beyond.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, both Cleveland and Minnesota have agreed in principle to a trade that will send Love to the Cavaliers while the Timberwolves will be netting Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future protected first round pick for 2015.
The package is widely seen as the best possible deal for Minnesota, which also had trade talks with the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls earlier in the offseason.
The deal has actually been in the rumour mill for most of the offseason. Wiggins signed his rookie deal with Cleveland on July 22 but that just delayed the inevitable as Minnesota and Cleveland continued to talk about the possible exchange. Wiggins will be allowed to be part of any package by August 23, 2014, when the moratorium to deal rookie signees expires.
The Cavaliers proposal will include the top picks in the most recent drafts. Wiggins was selected first overall in the 2014 NBA Draft while Bennett is the top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The “Big Three” forming in Cleveland along with a respectable supporting cast makes them instant favourites out in the relatively weaker Eastern Conference. James (27.1) and Love (26.1) ranked third and fourth overall, respectively in points per game (PPG) in the 2013-2014 NBA season while the 22-year-old Irving had a solid third year for the Cavaliers averaging 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Love is also one of the top rebounders last season averaging 12.5 caroms a game or third overall in the NBA. James, of course, is a constant NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate with impressive averages of 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.7 steals also last year.
The Ohio squad has also rounded some minor but crucial acquisitions in this offseason to bolster their depth and bench for the upcoming 82-game grind. They acquired veteran shooters Mike Miller and James Jones via free agency and the new hires will join Cavaliers mainstays Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters among others.
By all indication, Kevin Love is joining LeBron James and company in Cleveland. With the major offseason moves, are the Cavaliers legit contenders for the NBA championship?