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Report: With LeBron James heading to Cleveland, Kevin Love would commit to Cavaliers long term if traded there

Jul 11, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

Remember when Kevin Love made clear he doesn’t want join the Cavaliers? Cleveland even gave up on a Love trade.

Funny, LeBron James has a way of altering perception of the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has renewed interest in Love, and the feeling is mutual.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Quick, Flip Saunders, get the Cavaliers on the phone while they’re going gaga over LeBron. I know you wanted to delay, but now is the time to pounce. Maybe you can catch Cleveland in euphoria and negotiate a steal.

Oh. It seems the Cavaliers are going the other way, getting cockier.

Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick aren’t enough for Love. Likely, the Cavaliers will have to include Andrew Wiggins to make a trade work.

Love is definitely better than Wiggins right now, but Wiggins has a bright future. I think I’d deal Wiggins for Love, but it’s not an easy call.

His level of commitment would be a key factor. Love opting into the final season of his contract is a likely part of the trade, but he’d sacrifice a lot of money by signing an extension. Beyond 2015-16, Love will likely offer only his word on staying in Cleveland.

Is that enough for the Cavaliers? With LeBron, they should be confident they can convince him to stay.

  1. bostonian13 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    NO NO NOOOOOOOOO!!! (Celtics fan)

    Then again, it’s ESPN guys reporting this stuff, we all just saw how that goes.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      People on this thread seem to be forgetting that the Celtics are making serious bids for Love.

      Love said he’s open to being traded to the Cavs, not that he’s 100% committed to being traded to the Cavs and would veto trades to any other place.

      So long as Love remains open to multiple cities like Cleveland and Boston, Flip Saunders has the leverage to demand a high price until Love changes his tune and demands 1 city in particular.

      • fanofthegame1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Celtics don’t have Wiggins or anything near his value.

  2. m4a188 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Let’s get ready for the “_______ to Cleveland” rumors.

  3. cmehustle - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Wiggins, or no Love. Period

    • jeffkx - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Not when GSW’s best offer has been Klay Thompson, David Lee and a 1st..go take a look at what Carmelo, James Harden got traded for..see any Wiggins type player in those trades?

      • 76ersdoubletank - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        I don’t get it…Waiters, Bennett and No .1 is a garbage offer. Thompson and Lee are both way closer to Wiggins than either of those two. Wiggins would have to be in the deal to get it done. If i’m MN I’ll just hold tight until someone squerms.

    • thekiller678 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      I don’t understand this line of thinking. There’s a 0% chance Love stays in Minnesota next year, so they HAVE to get SOMETHING for him. The Timberwolves are not in any position to be making demands unless they simply don’t care if they get nothing for Kevin Love leaving, which is going to happen unless they trade him.

      • fanofthegame1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        They don’t have to get anything for him. Who said they do? We are not talking about the Knicks here. Why should minny help create a dynasty in another city. That would be dumb.

      • tompeppermint - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        The Wolves are in a position to make demands with a full year left on Love’s deal. If other NBA teams would decide collectively that they will make no overtures for Love until he reaches FA, then the Wolves would have no leverage. That’s not likely though I reckon. The Wolves’ leverage comes from the potential, real or imagined, of other NBA teams sniping him away before FA.

        As a Wolves fan, I’m not confident Flip will not bollix up the Love situation/trade. A Wiggins/Heat #1 pick plus whatever to make the salaries work would be my preferred deal at this point, but we’ll see if Cleveland would make such an offer. A Cleveland offer without Wiggins should be absolutely unacceptable to the Wolves at this point.

      • twinfan24 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        But, getting borderline players with contracts to pay is WORSE than getting nothing. Besides, they can always wait and trade him during the season if no one is offering more than middling players and draft picks.

  4. klownboy - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    This is a surreal moment for me. Never though in a million years LeBron would be heading back to Cleveland. And if the Cavs get their hands on Kevin Love? Look the BLEEP out…
    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-V3

  5. fanofthegame79 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    The Cavs need to make. This. Happen. Now.

  6. lbeezyse - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Wiggins thompson and the Heats first should do the trick

  7. Andee - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I’m amazed they tried to pull an offer without Wiggins involved. How did Flip Saunders not laugh them right out of the conversation with that nonsense. Anthony Bennett is lucky to even be on an NBA roster after last season.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Yeah, as long as Love isn’t specifically demanding the Cavs and is open to multiple cities, Saunders can and should ask teams like the Celtics, Warriors, and the Cavaliers to bid against each other.

      It’s a sellers market unless Love decides that he only wants to play for the Cavs. If that happens – and this report says it hasn’t yet – then Saunders would be stuck only negotiating with 1 team.

  8. capspats - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Wiggins, Bennett, and a first for Love should work if they think he’ll re-sign. Then you’d have Irving Waiters Lebron Love and Varejao. That lineup other than lebron could very quickly run into injury trouble tho

  9. cruzan80 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    There is no way on Earth T’wolves hand over Kevin Love without Wiggins in return.

    With James in town again I’m not even sure why the Cavs stil want Wiggins. Waiters is a far better shooter & thats what you want on a LeBron James lead team.

    Offer Wiggins, Thompson & one of their 3 1st round picks next season.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Agreed with this. Saunders has a decent amount of leverage unless Kevin Love rules out the Celtics and Warriors as potential teams since he can play the Celtics, Warriors, and Cavaliers against each other in a bidding war. He should use that leverage while he has it.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    DO NOT make the mistake of trading Wiggins CLE! No Wiggins for Love! Just quit while your ahead Cleveland!

    • bougin89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Although Wiggins isn’t proven like Love, with Wiggins on the books for cheap the next 4 years they would have much more flexibility than Love and his contract. On the flipside the roster would be more balanced with Kyrie, Lebron, Love…

      • casualcommenter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        That’s true, but I just think that with LeBron at age 29, the Cavs can’t play the, “Keep ourselves flexible and see what we can build over the next 3-4 years” game.

        The East is weak. LeBron is turning 30 this season. Kevin Love wants to be traded this offseason, and the Cavs can’t count on Kevin Love or a comparable player hitting free agency in the next 3 years AND being willing to sign in Cleveland once LeBron is older.

        Trade for Love, earn a top-3 seed in the East, hope you make some deep playoff runs, have Love get a taste for winning and agree to stick long term, and you now have a LeBron, Kyrie, and Love Big 3 that is locked up long-term.

      • bougin89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        I definitely see that argument. Just hard to part with Wiggins(who should contribute immediately) and be great in a few years. Like you said though, they are definitely in win now mode. If they traded their 3 first round picks this year(2 of them are protected) and their 2016 1st as well as a combination of Tristan, Waiters, Bennett(or all three of them) instead of Wiggins. Would Minnesota bite? If they could somehow pull off Kyrie, Wiggins, Lebron and, Love that would be just insane. It’s extremely unlikely but not totally out of the realm of possibility.

      • tved12 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        How many PPG did Wiggins average in college?

        Sure he can contribute now, but he’s going to take a while to peak. I’ll admit, I’m a Wolves fan so I would love to have Wiggins. But even before the draft my concern with Wiggins is he may develop into just a “nice” player, not a superstar. I’m glad he has that potential, but Cleveland can’t bank on potential now.

      • bougin89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        The point with Wiggins is you have much more flexibility to add other role players or maybe one other legit starter. With Love you lose quite a few of your role players, at least one 1st round pick, and pretty much any and all cap space for the foreseeable future. That’s exactly what happened in Miami. You do make a great point though, Cleveland has to be in all out win now mode. I’m sure they’ll pull the trigger if they can to get Love. That may have even been promised to Lebron.

      • tved12 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        I see your point with what happened in Miami. However, do you trust the Cavs to add role players who produce like the Spurs?

        That’s the problem, how many role players does it take to average 24 and 12 a game? If you believe you can get guys to do that, then don’t trade for Love. I for one don’t think the Cavs have shown they can do that, so I would take Love.

        Remember, the Spurs are a great franchise. But Miami won 2 titles in the last 3 years while the Spurs won just 1

      • bougin89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        Very true. But right now Kyrie and Wiggins salaries for this year allow them to get Lebron without dumping Varajeo. It would also allow them to keep Waiters, Bennett, Tristan and all their draft picks. I’d keep my options open there. That’s a deep young core with potential. If Tristan and Bennett actually turn the corner(for Bennett it would be more like actually show up) and Wiggins is the real deal that’s a lot of young legs and potential to drive the train with Lebron.

      • tved12 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        I agree it’s a lot of potential, but I don’t trust Tristan or Bennett. I truly don’t believe the two of them will get you 25 and 12 together.

  11. flickflint - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    They’d regret giving up Wiggins

    • tompeppermint - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      More or less than they regret drafting Bennett?

  12. rrhoe - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I smell a little more “parity” returning to the NBA…..

    • casualcommenter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      I disagree.

      Last year, Heat were a powerhouse team and the Cavs were stuck chasing after the 8th seed.
      Now, the Cavs are becoming a powerhouse team (if this Kevin Love trade goes through) and the Heat are probably stuck chasing after a bottom playoff seed.

      Leaguewide parity doesn’t improve. The East still has only maybe 3 or so powerhouse teams with the rest being not so good. The only difference is that the Cavs and Heat are swapping places.

  13. getlow81 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Honestly, I think the Cavs would be silly to trade for Love while including Wiggins. That would make them contenders for the title immediately for sure, but you have no idea how good this kid could be. They’d essentially be trading away a player who could help Cleveland have a legitimate long-term dynasty with an incredibly young core, other than James.

    Not to mention, that would then be 3 max deals starting next summer on their roster. We saw the Heat were able to make it work at the beginning of the new CBA, but once you get into the luxury tax. It kills your ability to sign new players in multiple facets, salary restrictions, more payments for the owner, etc. that’s part of the reason the Heat couldn’t add any great pieces to their roster to entice James to come back.

    If the Cavs kept Wiggins, that would lock him in at a very friendly rookie wage scale for the next 4 years. If he develops into a max player after that, then you pay him. Wiggins could be a dream pairing with LeBron, especially defensively, very similar to the combo of Michael and Scottie. He’s already spectacular perimeter defender with incredible athleticism. Wiggins also could take a lot of the pressure off James defensively as he gets deeper into his 30′s.

    I wouldn’t do it if i were the Cavs. Not yet. At least wait and see how this team develops into the mid-season, then maybe revisit the idea by the trade deadline if Love isn’t moved by then.

    • fanofthegame1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      They would be a fool not to include Wiggy to trade for Love. You do realize that Love is a top 5 player in the league and is only 25? What has wiggy done in the league? There is only one risk here.

      • getlow81 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        I realize all of the above. But you’re trading a #1 overall pick. A guy who legitimately is probably a top 5 player athletically right now in Wiggins.

        He won’t even be 20 until AFTER the trade deadline next year! Potential in many cases is often overrated, but if he develops the way he’s capable then the Cavs could regret that trade sooner than later.

    • florida727 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      I like the logic behind #getlow81′s thinking. Wiggins is an athletic freak. Do you really want to let that ship sail this early in the game? Always hard to speculate, but since you don’t know what you don’t know (about Wiggins), I’d err on the side of caution and hold onto him. Paired with LeBron he could turn into the next Pippen… which ain’t exactly a bad thing.

      • tved12 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

    • lunds007 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      You High Son! Love is Top 5 player in NBA right now and is only 25. You don’t roll the dice on maybe Wiggins will be great… You trade and sign Love and watch the Championships come in!

      Get errrrrr Done!

      • paleihe - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Please rate your top five players. Love being top 5 is a joke.

    • tigerpork - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      I’m pretty sure the Cavs cannot beat Indiana or Chicago (with Rose) with the roster of James, Irvin and Wiggins. The Cavs NEED Love.

  14. afraz89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Wiggins ends up in Philly, you heard it here first.

    • twinfan24 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      You are so right! But, only because every team makes a visit to every other team, so, unless hurt and left home, he will indeed make a visit to Philly next year, whether with the Cavs or Wolves.

  15. jammer73 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Flip should hold firm and demand Wiggins or no deal. He’d be better off letting him walk for nothing than take back a couple of scrubs and a draft pick.

    • fanofthegame1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Some people think it would be better for Minny to build a dynasty in Cleveland. Real idiots, I tell ya.

    • csbanter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      agreed 100% Saunders would be dope for taking Waiters and Bennett. Hold onto Love and get a team to trade for him in February. He’ll get a better deal then.

  16. paleihe - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Do teams forget about defense when wanting players?

    Kyrie couldn’t stop me from scoring.
    Love would let me shoot a 2-footer hoping I’d miss so he can get another rebound.

    Not to mention, both of these players seem to be hurt quite a bit. Love is David Lee with a 3-pointer.

    • getlow81 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      ^^^This^^^

      People complain about Carlos Boozer’s lackadaisical defense for the past several years..But when I see Kevin Love play defense, it’s quite honestly worse a lot of the time. He certainly leaves a lot to be desired from a strength and fundamental stand point.

      The Cavs would have zero defensive presence inside. Varajao is a poor man’s Joakim Noah only in the way that he plays with loads of energy, not defensive prowess. Their best interior defender is probably Tristan Thompson, yuck, they need to improve that immensely.

  17. purple4life2 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Get real. That’s BY FAR the worst offer I’ve even heard, rumor wise.

    CLE is in prime position to stack up directly with the Spurs, literally at every key position, if they land Love. Lebron signing in CLE is going to create urgency in GS to part with Klay now. If Melo stays in NY, Chicago will also go after Love.

    I still think Flip takes Klay over Wiggins. Better step with Wiggins before GS and Chicago come calling CLE.

  18. csbanter - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    T Wolves are about to be fleeced by Cavs. Waiters, Bennett and #1 that will probably in the high 20′s if not #30. This is why teams like Minnesota are always on the outside looking in.

  19. mightbegoingtohellforthis - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Cleveland should stick with its young talent and salary cap friendly deals and hope to develop quickly. Lebron took Cleveland to a finals with a lot less than he has now.

    • twinfan24 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      But, he didn’t win with that less talent. If they want to compete to WIN the title, they need Love (or someone else that is a top talent now) instead of a guy with potential.

  20. bringin1234 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Cavs get Love then I would be a bit scared of this team, until then lets see what they come together like.

    on another note, is it just me or does love look jealous of the Kobe/Lebron hug in that pic?

  21. ravenswhat - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    I would never trade wiggins. He’s Pippen. Love is an overrated player. That Mn roster is awful and his 25/12 isn’t happening on a decent roster. Plus his D is a huge liability. Problem for cavs right now is their lack of size. They almost have to get love at any cost.

    • getlow81 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      They don’t need size..MIA won two titles with perimeter shooters. They never even really had a true 5 as a starter, Bosh is a 4, Haslem is a 4, and so was the great Joel Anthony.

      Love has size, but doesn’t use it defensively other than to grab boards. His addition would be a moot point, if not make them worse, defensively.

  22. seasickcecil - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    I’ll say this for the last time no way Lebron goes back to Cleveland.

  23. paoconno - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    For all you idiots bashing a Wiggins for Love deal…CLEVELAND should jump at this. Love is a 25/12 player with a ridiculously high efficiency rating and ability to score inside and from beyond the arc. No other 4 in the league can do what he can do.

    And… he’s only 25 years old! He is in his prime. He will get better for the next five years. Are you gambling that Wiggins will develop into one of the league’s top 3 players in Win shares and PER like Love already is right now? Big risk. As for defense, yes Love is a liability, but not due to a lack of effort like Boozer and Harden. His defensive fundamentals and effort are there, he just doesn’t have the athletic ability to shut down some of the league’s better big men. But with the right schemes, you can hide his flaws and make Cleveland a good defensive team, similar to what San Antonio has done. They play great team defense without a true lockdown defender.

  24. ghelton03 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Love is in the drivers seat now. He only has to say that he will only re-sign with the Cav’s. That will leave MN to take Cav’s best offer or get nothing at all. If they don’t take Cav’s offer, Love plays another year in MN then signs with Cav’s. There is no reason for Cav’s to give up Wiggins. They either get Love this coming year or the following year and they keep Wiggins.

  25. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    What would Minny rather have:

    1. Harrison Barnes, David Lee’s contract and a late 1st round pick
    2. Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Jeff Green & a 1st rounder
    3. Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson & a 1st rounder

    At least Cleveland’s offer is for decent rotation players who are all on cheap rookie contracts. I suspect Cleveland can get it done without trading Wiggins.

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