As expected, not even the signing of Andrew Wiggins to a rookie contract can stop the Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade talk. Deeper into the offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves superstar’s possible pairing with LeBron James in Ohio is apparently all but a done deal.
According to an ESPN article by Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, an NBA source confirmed on Thursday that James is already “looking forward” to his team-up with Love in Cleveland.
The ESPN duo also added that Cleveland is now the lone squad that is in talks with Minnesota after failed overtures from the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, both of which were early runners for Love’s services.
Via Stein's Twitter:
Story going online now with @WindhorstESPN: ESPN sources say Kevin Love trade to Cleveland increasingly looking like "when" not "if" deal
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 31, 2014
Earlier in the 2014 offseason, reports stated that Golden State was interested in Love but not at the expense of trading Klay Thompson, who the Warriors have identified as one of the untouchable players even for a talent Love.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have had exploratory trade discussions with the Timberwolves with names like Taj Gibson, Dough McDermott and Jimmy Butler in the deal but never really gained any serious momentum.
That leaves the Cavaliers as the most viable destination for Love, who is expected to opt out of his current contract after the 2014-2015 NBA season. According to various reports over the offseason, Cleveland has initially offered Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick before eventually involving replacing Wiggins for Waiters in the succeeding proposals.
Wiggins signed his rookie deal worth nearly $25 million/4 years for the Cavaliers, which can’t trade the 19-year-old prospect until August 23, 2014 because of NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) rules.
Love was statistically one of the best players in the league in the 2013-2014 season averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Adding the “stretch big” to a squad with perhaps the best player in the world in James will make the Cavaliers the instant favourites to win the Eastern Conference and make the NBA Finals.