Why would they make the deal now? Why wouldn’t they just wait? Who counts as what? Is Wiggins even signed? How is the Collective Bargaining Agreement involved?
As the questions pile up, we here at WFNY have compiled a bit of an FAQ of sorts to help guide you through the process. Enjoy.
Q: If Kevin Love wants to be a free agent, why don’t the Cavs just wait for him to be available and sign him?
A: The Cavaliers won’t have salary cap space to do that. LeBron James’ cap hold would be roughly $22 million. Kyrie Irving will be due roughly $18 million. Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett will likely see their $5 million options picked up. If Tristan Thompson doesn’t get an extension, he’s looking at a $7 million qualifying offer. Factor in Andrew Wiggins’ $6 million and you’re at $63 million with just those six players. Unless Love is willing to take the veteran minimum, a trade is necessary.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however. They could still do a sign-and-trade and utilize the unique feature of Brendan Haywood’s $10 million non-guaranteed deal for 2015-16. It’s not impossible, but it’s not that likely. Even less likely: LeBron opting out and taking less money to get this done in outright free agency as Love eyes up the Lakers.
Q: Andrew Wiggins hasn’t even signed his deal yet, right?
A: No, Wiggins hasn’t signed yet. If and when he signs a deal with the Cavaliers he can not be traded for 30 days.
Q: So if the Cavs trade Wiggins, what salary is used for salary matching purposes?
A: As has been pointed out in Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ, the trade value of a first- or second-round pick is always $0. There would be a lot of interesting salary math that would have to happen to make an Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love trade happen, which is why you’re likely seeing so many other players’ names involved in rumors.
Q: But I thought the Cavaliers told Andrew Wiggins they weren’t going to trade him.
A: That was July 11 and things change in a hurry—especially in the NBA. Plus, that was just a report and maybe it was mis-information. David Blatt also did say it, but he’s not the General Manager. SI’s Chris Mannix reported on Thursday night that it’s of the belief that Wiggins would merely be the starting point and that Dion Waiters and a draft pick would still need to be added for Minnesota to pull the trigger. This said, both Andy Baskin (of NewsNet5), Tom Withers (of The AP) and Sam Amico (of FOX Sports Ohio) are still of the belief that Wiggins is not up for grabs.
Q: Why wouldn’t the Cavs deal Wiggins? He’s a rookie who is average on offense and may not peak for four or five years.
A: Have you been watching the Summer League? Sure, the kid is raw, but the potential for he and LeBron James in transition—on both ends—is highlight reel-ready. Several GMs have already said he has the potential to be a top five player in the league given enough time.
Q: Then why would the Cavs deal him? They lucked into the top pick and he’ll be one of the top players in the league—on a rookie pay scale.
A: Because Kevin Love is one of the top 12 players in the NBA. He’s a floor-spacing stretch four who also happens to be one of the better passing big men in the league. Essentially, he’s EXACTLY what David Griffin pictures when he discusses fit. He may not average 26 and 12 on a team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with 20 and 10 with the potential to drop 30 on any given night. Had he not been on a terrible team in the West, he would’ve single-handedly carried his team to the playoffs. Oh, and he’s already cool with Kyrie.
Q: If we would have told you last week that you could have LeBron James and Kevin Love if you were willing to trade Andrew Wiggins, would you have done it?
A: Good point. But Cleveland already has LeBron.
Q: But isn’t Love an injury concern?
A: Any professional athlete who plays at a high level is an injury concern. That said, Love, similar to Irving, has had to carry his team. It can be safely assumed that his usage requirements will dip a bit given the fact that he’d be surrounded by two All-Stars and a center who would’ve been right there if not for injuries of his own. You’ll never win if you’re always paranoid.
Q: Did the Cavs blow all their leverage with Thursday’s report?
A: Maybe. The Golden State Warriors refuse to trade the one-trick Klay Thompson, and even then—they would require Minnesota to take on David Lee’s contract. The market was all but dry. At least until Thursday. As reports swirled that LeBron James wants Love on the Cavs’ roster, and went as far as to reach out to recruit him, it appears that the ball is now in the Cavs’ court. Does it feel a bit dirty that James came home and immediately started hand-picking teammates? A little bit. Even if the deal doesn’t happen, the Cavs stand to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Are the Cavs willing to mortgage any hint of the future and essentially make Cleveland Miami North?
Q: Doesn’t this kind of remind everyone of the time the Cavaliers wouldn’t trade J.J. Hickson for Amare Stoudemire?
A: That NEVER happened! Dan Gilbert (among others) has been on record saying that those rumors were FLAT OUT NONSENSE. It’s the rumored deal that just won’t die! If you want a sure-fire quick way to remind everyone how little you know about the Cavs and the NBA, bring up the failed JJ for Amare trade.
Q: But what if I still have more questions?
A: Feel free to put ’em in the comments. We will do our best to answer them.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone | Scott Sargent and Jacob Rosen contributed to this publication)