Alas, the Love-to-Cleveland rumors have begun.
As soon as the Cavaliers beat the long odds to win Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, we knew that Cleveland would be the hot new potential destination for the Wolves to ship their superstar. (Seriously, when has Cleveland been a hot, new destination for anything?) Also, they apparently are dilusional about how this trade would go down.
While the reunion of Uncle Drew and Wes would be an epic pairing, it’s difficult to find a trade offer that Cleveland could put together that would entice Flip Saunders to pull the trigger. Of course, it’s even tougher to imagine Love re-signing in Cleveland in the summer of 2015, but that’s another matter.
The only real asset that Cleveland possesses is the #1 overall pick. It’s been rumored that the Wolves would covet Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins in the top spot to fill the gaping hole that has been their starting 3-spot for, well, pretty much since Latrell Sprewell was able to feed his family.
The perspective here, of course, is that Wiggins is vastly overrated and will be a marginal at-best NBA contributor for at least his first couple of seasons, and is nowhere near where a number of teams seem to see him. There are some good anonymous quotes over at Grantland from various NBA scouts and executives. Follow the link and you’ll see, among other statements:
“Don’t trust his shot or his ball skills. Can’t go left….He can be your third-best player, but not your best…He will be lost in an NBA half-court offense. He is great in transition, but he has no ball skills. All right hand, no idea what to do without the ball. He struggles with confidence. He actually reminds me more of Gerald Green than any of these studs he’s compared to.”
Not what teams should be looking for in a number one overall pick in an allegedly deep draft class. Joel Embiid should be the clear number one pick. Use statistical prediction models, traditional scouting methods, his individual workouts, measurements…it doesn’t matter. Throw it all together and you have a historical talent.
The back injury that cut his season at Kansas short appears to largely be a non-issue at this point, but even if it was a concern, I’m not sure that I’d be able to pass on the potential and immediate impact that Embiid will surely have at the professional level.
Now, should the Wolves move Love to the Cavs? They almost certainly should not, and while the number one pick is enticing, what else would they get from the Cavs? Bill Simmons surmises that Minnesota would receive the top pick, Anthony Bennett (last year’s #1 overall pick), and an unprotected first round pick in 2015. If Bennett were any good, that would be a decent yet not great haul.
Simmons also suggests that the Wolves could turn around and flip the #1 pick to Philadelphia for picks #3 and #10. Now, if I could turn Love into #3, #10, Anthony Bennett, and an unprotected first-rounder from the Cavs, I’d think about it. Especially if Saunders is indeed enamored with Wiggins, who would surely be there at #3. The Wolves could then pick at #10 and #13, or package them in a trade to move up or acquire a veteran player.
I also don’t think that Philadelphia would make that trade, unless the savvy Sam Hinkie happens to be in love with the idea of pairing Nerlens Noel (coming back this year from knee surgery) and Emiid in the paint, which would be a terrifying duo.
Anyways, we’ve gone down a never-ending rabbit hole of trades contingent on any number of trades happening prior to these other trades taking place. It comes down to this: if you can get the number one overall pick for a player that you believe is a once-in-a-generation, transformational talent, you have to consider making it happen. Of course, I’m terrified that Saunders would draft Wiggins at #1, and that would ruin everything.
All things considered, it’s a trade that if on the table, should be considered. Ultimately, I’m not sure I could pull the trigger. We’ll take a look at a variety of potential trade scenarios from teams around the league as we move forward, but thus far this is really the only intriguing possibility that’s been rumored to eventually be on the table.