Pretty much all week long we’ve been hearing that Andrew Wiggins would be signing his rookie contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers today, tomorrow, or the next day, or maybe the day after that.
It’s an ongoing “problem” in the Kevin Love negotiations that would keep the trade from officially being consummated until thirty days after the signing. The strange holdup is unclear, but only fuels speculation that both the Cavs and the Wolves are using it as some sort of artificial deadline as an attempt at any semblance of urgency.
Of course, there really is no deadline or timeline by which a trade must be completed. Nothing happens over the next two months in the NBA landscape, and it isn’t like the trade could not be agreed to in principle during the moratorium. Sure, one of the parties could get cold feet and back out, or Chicago, Golden State, Denver, etc., could jump in with a competitive offer. But it seems as though Wiggins is indeed the trump card that the Cavs need to get this done.
There have been a number of secondary-type news outlets and sources claiming that a deal is already done and agreed to, from TV hosts in Portland to random “insiders” in the Midwest. None of the top-flight, reputable NBA reporters have reported anything as fact, and it was just yesterday when the likes of Chris Sheridan and Darren Wolfson were floating a “serious” offer from Chicago that the Wolves were considering.
Sifting through all of the muck suggests that it is very likely that the Wolves and Cavs may have already agreed on the framework of a Love-for-Wiggins swap, and that the two sides are simply hammering out the details — draft picks, potential third teams, matching salaries, etc. There’s too much smoke (plus the known availability of Wiggins) for there not be (a very large) fire.
This would explain the steam surrounding Philadelphia, as Sixers boss Sam Hinkie would certainly not be one to pass up an opportunity to facilitate a mega-deal and reap the benefits of teams looking to off-load salaries, possibly acquiring draft picks in the process.
My take: a Cavs-Wolves trade is done in principle, and the ancillary pieces are being worked out. Chicago seems to be kicking the tires at the eleventh hour, now that Nikola Mirotic is officially signed and they have Pau Gasol as another piece in the fold that would play in the paint, making Taj Gibson eminently more tradeable.
The Wolves could also be trying to use the Bulls to drive up the price by a draft pick (or two) from Cleveland or the third trade partner, but I think it’s pretty much completed. It’s hard to see Flip Saunders passing on a player that he, along with much of the league, covets in Wiggins.
The trade could be announced at any point in time, of course, from today through the end of August, provided Wiggins signs in the coming days.
That said, let’s prepare for another day chock-full of rumors and alleged offers.