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Report: Cavaliers last team standing in Kevin Love trade talks

Jul 31, 2014, 12:04 AM EDT

US forward Kevin Love (L) and US forward US forward Kevin Love (L) and US forward

As soon as the Cavaliers offered Andrew Wiggins in a Kevin Love trade, they should have become instant favorites to land the disgruntled Minnesota star.

It took longer than it should have, but eventually the Timberwolves came around.

Now, every sign points toward Cleveland.

The Cavaliers seem OK with acquiring Love even if he doesn’t opt in, and they’ve also added non-guaranteed contracts to grease a larger deal. Anthony Bennett, who shares an agent with Love, has even stopped playing potentially in anticipation of a trade.

Every tea leaf points to Cleveland over other potential trade partners. The Celtics have moved on, and the Bulls’ offer wasn’t that strong. Neither was the Warriors’, and without Klay Thompson, their weaker package won’t even tempt Minnesota.

As a result, the Timberwolves and Cavaliers are exactly in a place that makes sense – moving directly toward a deal.

Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team currently in contention for Love. Sources say the Chicago Bulls are increasingly pessimistic about their chances of trumping Cleveland’s offer, while the Golden State Warriors remain unwilling to bend on their longstanding refusal to surrender Klay Thompson in a deal for Love.

numerous league insiders — some of whom are gathered in Las Vegas for this week’s Team USA training camp — have begun to describe a Love-to-Cleveland trade as a “when” transaction as opposed to an “if.”

one source said Wednesday that James himself already is “looking forward” to the prospect of welcoming the All-Star power forward as his newest teammate.

Yet league officials are adamant that there can be no acknowledgement of a trade, from either the Wolves or the Cavaliers, until the 30 days pass from Wiggins’ signing.

There are still details to work out.

Will it become a three-team trade (maybe with Thaddeus Young headed to Minnesota)? Will Love opt in as a condition of the trade? Will Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea, two players the Timberwolves want to dump, also be included in the trade?

But that’s all window dressing, and there’s time for the teams to negotiate those questions. Wiggins can’t be traded until Aug. 23.

The crux of the trade – Wiggins, Bennett and a first-round pick for Love – already seems established.

At this point, it seems more likely than not LeBron James will get his wish and team up with Love next season.

  1. mungman69 - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I doubt that there were any serious offers for Love. Now the Cavs can play hardball.

    • timberwolvesbrisin - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      Love isnt going to CLE without Wiggins coming to MN. They’re prepared to let him walk over taking on garbage..

      • watdoiknow - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        I hope they do let him walk.. that way Cleveland can just sign him as a UFA and not give up anything. Offer just slightly better “garbage” than the other teams in contention, and if that’s not good enough.. just get him when he opts out.
        MN will soon realize they hold no leverage.

      • jeffkx - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        So you’d rather take nothing than get Waiters (or Thad Young), Bennett and 2 1sts and potentially unloading Kevin Martin’s contract? I know you have a star player and think you hold all the cards but you need to realize you may not get what you want for Love. And despite what people think the possibility for the Cavs to sign Love in Free agency is quite real. (LeBron opt out then take $10m then sign a max deal when the cap explodes in 2016 then trade Waiters and Bennett would be the other $10m needed).

      • bobby2478 - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        I agree 100%. Why take back garbage that is going to eat away at your salary cap rather than just free up all that space to go after other free agents who aren’t garbage and can help you win?

        The future first rounders from CLE will be crap anyway, assuming the Cavs become one of the elite teams in the East like they are projected. Late 1st round picks aren’t particularly valuable.

        The Wolves have ALL YEAR to sit on Love, they don’t need to move him now. If CLE wants to walk back their offer then fine, that means the Bulls, Warriors and other teams are now right back in contention. And if they don’t get what they want, hold onto him as a key player for a championship team might go down and they would suddenly want to get Love to stay in contention. Worst case you let him walk and get nothing.

        But freeing up all that cap space is more valuable than taking back garbage to plug up part of that cap space as that would limit them from being able to pursue future free agents.

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        No CLE cant sign him, they dont have the cap space, even if Lebron opts out, because they dont have his bird rights because he hasnt been with them 3 or more years. And yes id rather have cap space than Anthony Bennett, we arent giving CLE a championship for nothing.

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        No we have the leverage, because we have Kevin Love. The only way CLE can add another Superstar(besides organically) is to trade for Love.

    • kopy - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      This article is suggesting that Boston, Chicago, and Golden State are pulling back because Cleveland and Minnesota already have a tentative deal. Not that they’re pulling back just because they feel like it, allowing Cleveland to start lowering the offer. If Cleveland plays hardball, the other suitors come back in.

    • bobby2478 - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      The ONLY reason they are currently the leading contender is based on the offer of Wiggins, Bennet and a future 1st rounder. If they suddenly walk back that offer and try to only offer the Wolves garbage, they will walk (as they should).

      If CLE suddenly plays “hard ball” and pulls Wiggins, Bennet or both from the trade talks, than the other teams WILL become contenders. The only reason they aren’t now is the Cav’s offer far trumps what they can do. If the Cav’s suddenly walk back their offer, then the Bulls, Warriors and other teams are back in the mix again.

      MN still has leverage. If they don’t get anything meaningful in return for an All Star player, than I would let him walk for nothing too and hang onto him for another year out of spite. Getting garbage for him that will eat up salary cap space and not help you rebuild or win now is probably more harmful than just freeing up a ton more salary cap space to spend on other free agents.

    • rosloe62 - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      If the Cavs play hardball I think the other teams come back to play. All last year Love talked about wanting to play for a big market team. If Love doesn’t opt in and does go to Cleveland there is no guarantee he signs with them long term. Nothing is a slam dunk. What if Love decides Cleveland isn’t what he thought and decides he really wants to play for GS, NY or Chicago. If I were all these teams, I’d let Minnesota keep him for the year or rent him to another team, then try and sign him as a FA next summer without giving up anything.

  2. peopletrains - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    The Wolves and Flip have plenty of time to mess this up. I’m not believing anything until Wiggins is at press conference donning a MN jersey in MPLS.

  3. bknowledge - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    Is there any player in the league that could escape a Lebron/Wiggins trap? I’d love to see a defense built around that.
    Wiggins would need to develop 1 shot this year (corner 3) to give the Cavs a shot at winning the Finals this year.

    I think Cavs would have been better keeping Hawes, Deng, and Wiggins…and signing a few other vet mins (center/pg)…maybe making a small trade…but that ship has sailed…
    starting 5 of:
    would have been seriously devastating…
    Bennett, Waiters, Varejoa, Tristan off the bench would have been pretty good too, especially with a veteran pg and center.
    Bennett could have spent a lot of time practicing corner 3’s also.
    Wiggins/Lebron trap defense should have been able to throw off the Spurs offense…

    Trio of Lebron/Kyrie/Love will win a ton of games too and have a good chance to win the championship.

    • malek773 - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Lebron can’t be your starting 4. He can play 4 sometimes depending on the matchup, but having as the primary there would not work.

  4. seasickcecil - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    The Cavs should not trade for Love because they can just sign him when he becomes a free agent.

    Fiction: This would be a dream scenario, but it’s improbable because of the salary cap. James is scheduled to make $21.5 million next season. The Cavs will have a decision to make on Tristan Thompson, who will either get a new extension (remember, he is represented by James’ agent Rich Paul) or will get a qualifying offer for one year at about $7.1 million. Irving’s max extension will kick in for the first year, and is expected to be around $18 million. Then there are decisions on the horizon with Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett, who both have team options in the summer.

    If the Cavs don’t trade for Love that means Wiggins stays put, and he will be making north of $5 million. That’s a lot of money the Cavs would have tied up. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing Love, who will be 26 at the time, won’t be willing to play for the minimum.

    • hainje - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      It’s funny people give you a thumbs down even though you speak the truth… people live in their own little world.

  5. conradtwin1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Doesn’t this further cement that LBJ will never live up to MJ as he never would recruit another star like this to play with him to win rings? MJ won with a good #2 in Pippen and a bunch of good role players whom he made better over time?

    • watdoiknow - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      A “good number 2”???? Isn’t Pippen on the list of 50 greatest NBA players of ALL TIME?? just because MJ didn’t have to “recruit” him doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a GREAT number two.. And for context… I’m a Cleveland fan.. that likes LBJ.. but STILL thinks Jordan is the best that’s ever played the game.. so I’m not trying diss Michael by any means..

      • Kurt Helin - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        The year Jordan played baseball the Bulls won 55 games and went to the second round of the playoffs without him. That team was far from bad, Jordan simply elevated it as the all time greats do.

    • wordyduke - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      At the end of LBJ’s career, MJ may still win a GOAT vote, but I wouldn’t say the difference is set in cement just yet.

      Over the 6 ring years, MJ’s point guards averaged 45%+ from three. There were always several beefy 7-footers who could handle the ball and clog the middle on defense. Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman were All-Star role players at Kevin Love’s position. Did Chicago have more capable management to acquire these guys without help from MJ?

      • hainje - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        The Jordan/LeBron comparisons are always lazy. Plus, comparing a guy done with a career to a guy half way through is dumb. People are dumb.

  6. joethesensasian - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    What’s with this 30-day wait period? Makes no sense.

    • justorion - Jul 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Silly contract rule, Cleveland just signed wiggins, now they can’t trade him for 30 days from the ink drying.

    • swede700 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      It was put in place to prevent teams from signing free agents just to trade them, and it also has to do with the setting of the salary cap.

  7. nilla619 - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Im with Bill Simmons this trade was made before Lebron signed

  8. jammer73 - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Dream on Cavs fans. You are losing Wiggins for Love. Book it.

  9. ecnuob51 - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    You only say book it when going out on a limb. That statement is pretty obvious.
    I.e. The spurs will be in the playoffs next year. Book it.

  10. genericcommenter - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Like Bruce Willis, about to kill with this.

  11. jrob23 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Worst kept secret ever. This deal was made before Lebron went to CLE. You’d have to have your head in the sand to believe otherwise. There is zero chance the NBA would allow LJ to not make the playoffs and with him and Love they are virtually assured of at least reaching the conference finals.

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