In the wake of the fast and furious reporting surrounding an alleged handshake agreement between the Wolves and Cavs regarding a Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins-centric trade, multiple news outlets are reporting that the NBA is closely tracking the interaction between the two organizations.
On Friday night, Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN relayed LeBron James’ toeing-of-the-line comments surrounding Love and his potential arrival in Cleveland through the lens of the league’s careful examination of the pending transaction.
“I don’t even really care about the 26 [points] and 12 [rebounds], I care about his basketball IQ. His basketball IQ is very, very high. I had the opportunity to spend 32 days with him in the 2012 Olympics. He was huge for us … he’s a great piece.”
James was cautious to frame his comments about Love, saying he knew there were hurdles left to clear before the Cavs can complete a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Top draft pickAndrew Wiggins is included in the talks, and the rookie cannot be traded until Aug. 23 under league rules.
“We can’t get too far into it because of league rules, we don’t know for sure,” James said. “I’m not getting my hopes too high on it right now because you don’t know what could happen between now and the 23rd.”
The Cavs and Wolves have been operating under the assumption for weeks that they soon will complete the blockbuster trade, but the teams have purposely tried to avoid confirming the deal to adhere to strict league rules on the matter, according to NBA front-office sources.
Sources nonetheless tell ESPN.com that the general framework of a Cavs deal for Love — which would send Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick to Minnesota — has actually been in place since mid-July.
If the two clubs were treading carefully before, they need to be extra careful now. James’ comments are probably a bit over the line, and it’s no surprise that in his “welcome home ceremony” of sorts that followed shortly after the quotes regarding Love he never mentioned the power forward by name and seemed to be more mindful of the tenuous situation.
Keep an eye on what is (or is not) reported in the coming days. We’re officially at the midway point of Wiggins Wait, so there are just two weeks remaining of…this.