Rarely does a NBA trade (or a trade in any sport, for that matter) end up benefiting both teams involved. Like the actual games themselves, there normally is a clear-cut winner and loser to any transaction (although the true winner and loser sometimes doesn’t reveal itself until years down the line). This is especially the case when one team is dealing from a weak bargaining position, like when a star player requests a move out of town. Teams never get close to an equal return when trading a superstar, and this is even more so the case when it is publicly known that the superstar is pushing for a new address. But in the soon-to-be-official Kevin Love to Cleveland deal, it really looks like a win-win for both teams involved.
Acquiring a top-10 player like Love to team up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland is a slam dunk for the Cavs. And signing Love to a five-year extension means that the Cavs will be title contenders for the next six years, at the very least (barring LBJ taking his talents somewhere other than The Forest City). Add in the quality, veteran depth they’ve signed this offseason (Mike Miller, Shawn Marion (soon)) and Cleveland is positioned to be a title favourite this season. Great trade for Cleveland. Can’t wait to see some of the lineups they run out on the court this season – they seem to have about 57 different power forwards on their roster now.
Then there is poor, poor Minnesota – forced to trade their superstar big man named Kevin once again. Only this time, the Wolves should fare much better than they did with the haul they got for Garnett back in 2007 (Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, Wayne Ellington, Jonny Flynn. Eek.). In Andrew Wiggins they have a player with superstar potential who could fill Love’s shoes almost immediately (in terms of being a franchise player, that is – he is a far different type player than Love, which actually can be said about pretty much every other player in the league). He’s a hard worker, has a great attitude (Canadian, eh!) and at the very least should be a very solid NBA player. The Ricky Rubio-Wiggins combo is going to be a thing of beauty. The best part is the Wolves are getting him when he is the most valuable to them – on his cheap rookie contract.
While fellow Canadian and trade piece Anthony Bennett was turned into a laughingstock last year, the criticism really wasn’t fair. It wasn’t just a case of Bennett being totally out of his league on the court (which seemed to be the case 99% of the time he actually saw the court). Offseason shoulder surgery ensured that Bennett entered the season in horrible physical condition – he was out of shape and overweight all season. Now that he is healthy and fit once more, and has a year in the NBA under his belt, he should be a much improved player this season. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him take over Love’s power forward slot for the Wolves this season before all is said and done.
Plus the Wolves got a 2015 first round draft pick in the deal. Not too shabby at all. While it would have been nice to keep Love long-term, it became more than apparent (even to a clueless franchise like Minny) that he was bolting after his contract expired next summer. Plus keeping Love wouldn’t have ensured that the good times would have kept rolling – things haven’t been too sunny in Minnesota in his six seasons in the league so far anyhow.
Cleveland ensures their spot as a title contender for the next six years. Minnesota gets a potential superstar on a very cheap contract for the next five years, plus last year’s #1 overall pick. Sounds like a win-win to me for both teams.