It’s been a few weeks now since Cleveland landed Kevin Love and despite what probably feels like old news, the topic of who actually won the trade will be getting talked about for a while. Obviously, Love is an absolute stud and it’s crazy to think that he is only 25-years-old but Minnesota received some tangible assets.
Minnesota acquired two first-overall draft picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins and a steady player in Thaddeus Young. Everybody knows Bennett was a bust last year and couldn’t score a basket even if he was wide open with a ladder, but he was still a rookie and has many years to prove he’s a capable NBA forward.
Young and Love are the same age, which is hard to believe, so with that being said Young is a solid replacement for Love, even if he only stays until his contract expires in the summer of 2016. Young is not as skilful as Love in terms of passing and rebounding, but offensively he is very solid. Like Love, Young has the ability to drain the three-ball, but he also has a few solid post moves that allow him to score in the paint. Young probably won’t be considered as an All-NBA candidate anytime soon, but he’s a solid NBA starter that could work well with Wiggins.
Speaking of Wiggins, in terms of athleticism, it would have been really cool to see LeBron tossing him alley-oops every night, but moving to Minnesota and having the chance to be ‘the man’ may be the best thing that could have happened to him. Being in the shadow of Irving and LeBron could have made it tough for his development as that pressure of playing with them and the media scrutiny that comes with it, may have halted his development, but again we’ll never know. Also, playing alongside the crafty Ricky Rubio may allow for some SportsCentre Top 10 alley-oops regardless.
Minnesota should be ecstatic to have Wiggins. He’s going to be playing with that chip on his shoulder all season trying to prove Cleveland that they did the wrong thing by trading him. The first-overall draft pick in any league does not get traded regularly and when they do, it’s usually because they wanted out. Wiggins was happy to be drafted to Cleveland, but found out quickly that they didn’t want him anymore. As a result, in my opinion Wiggins will be a beast in Minnesota and will benefit well from getting out of the spotlight.
Lets bring it back to Love now. The downside: he’s never played in the playoffs. The upside: he’s playing alongside Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Cleveland now has two of the top 10 players in the league and is an instant favourite. Despite injuries, Cleveland is going to make it to at least make the Eastern Conference Finals and there’s no reason for them not to make the NBA Finals.Love averaged 26 points and 12.5 rebounds on a brutal Minnesota team last season, and with good company, those numbers could turn into something silly like 30 and 15 every night.
In a fan’s perspective, it’s pretty clear that Cleveland wins this trade because the excitement of three-time NBA all-star being added alongside of LeBron and Irving is something that doesn’t happen everyday. However, despite the loss of Love, Minnesota has given their fans a resurgence that they couldn’t have received from any other team besides Cleveland. Minnesota set a record for season ticket sales last week, so that shows how excited their fans are.
Minnesota will most likely miss the playoffs this year as the West is so tough, but down the road they could be one of the most exciting young teams in the league so with that optimism, Minnesota may not have won this trade immediatley but they did a pretty good job. As for Cleveland, anytime a team can go from a contender to the league favourite in one trade, then they win the trade. The hype around LeBron, Irving and Love is real. I’d take that big three over the LeBron, Bosh and Wade big three any day of the week, so despite an injury to Love, Cleveland wins this trade. Even if Wiggins turns out to be the best player since LeBron, the Cavs took the chance to win now, and in sports you have to take that risk to win when you can because you never know what’s going to happen down the road.
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