Maybe everything will blow up in the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers a year from now, but for the moment they are obviously the big winners of the Kevin Love trade, giving up Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, along with a future first round pick, as the Minnesota Timberwolves should feel they could have gotten more out of this deal.
Why can this blow up in their face? Kevin Love can opt out of his deal in 2015. LeBron James has the same option, and he is signed for two years only as well. The sources suggest that the Cavs and Love have a firm agreement that he can opt out of his deal and then sign a five-year, $120 million extension as a unrestricted free agent, but if we’re taking about legal, they can’t actually discuss future contracts with Love while he isn’t a free agent.
But it seems that the Cavaliers are either unconcerned about the future and the repercussions of this play because of their aggressive “win now” mentality, or are simply extremely confident that in the long run, they’ll be keeping both James and Love, while they have Kyrie Irving, suddenly the third best player on the team, locked up for a very long time.
The Timberwolves? It’s back to the building blocks for them. Right now this team is built around Ricky Rubio, a very exciting but limited point guard; Kevin Martin, a one-dimensional scorer in the back court; and Nikola Pekovic, a center who is terrible on the defensive end. With Wiggins, they have a starting small forward who should be a very good defender and under the right development a strong offensive presence as well. In Bennett, they have a number one draft pick who is also a huge question mark. They could have gotten more for Love, for the future and short run as well.
If anyone had any doubts, the Cavaliers propel themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference projections. The Chicago Bulls could get in the way, and the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats and the Miami Heat aren’t going down quietly. And yet the Cavaliers were able to add some substantial veterans (and they’re probably not done yet) through free agency without losing any depth in the Kevin Love trade.
Dion Waiters might have some ego issues, but he has a clear path to be a starting player and feel a lot more satisfied. Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao remain, and the Cavaliers have a very solid nucleus that goes seven man deep at the moment, and might be in a better position by the time the off season is over. The trade doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it certainly brought them a lot closer.