June 26th, 2014 in front of a packed house in Madison Square Garden and in front of millions across the globe, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins with the first pick in the NBA Draft. His floral jacket had him singing John Legend because he was on Cloud 9. He was the man of the hour and hopefully the mulligan that Cleveland hoped for since their last year number one pick Anthony Bennett didn’t do so well. Don’t get me wrong it’s plenty of time for Bennett so stop it with the NBA bust title. July 12th, 2014 the world took a step back as LeBron James announced that he will come back home and play for Cleveland Cavaliers. Everyone is excited and Wiggins gets to play with the best player in the game. Fast forward a couple more weeks now Kevin Love wants to play for the Cavs meaning Andrew Wiggins chance to play with the King could be over before it started. I know Andrew is like what the fuck Kev. I wonder if Andrew is listening to the hook of that Jay Z and Too Short classic, “it was all good just a week ago”. Now, if not all of sports talk is gearing towards a blockbuster trade involving Cleveland and Minnesota that will make Cleveland the team to beat in NBA 2K15 because in the real world there are some teams over West that got something to say about that. If you were the GM of these perspective teams, who would you rather have: Andrew Wiggins or Kevin Love?
Everyone has as many opinions about this topic as the amount of seasons of Real World. We already know Coach K would trade for Love in an instant. We know deep down Flip wants Klay Thompson. As a matter of facts here are some other things we already know: Wiggins is only 19 and can’t get a max deal for another 5 years, Kevin Love is 25 and even if he is traded to the Cavs can still opt out for max money next year. Wiggins has star potential as high as his vertical but it may take some time to adjust to the NBA game while Kevin is already a perennial All-Star and an Olympian. Wiggins is still as raw and an unsigned hype MC from the Source days but he plays defense and will make about 5.5 million annuallywhereas Kevin plays defense as good as James Harden but he gets buckets and will make about 20 million annually in his next deal.
Both of these players have their strengths as well as weaknesses but this is where GM’s make their money and where history is written. The necessity to win and to win now in conjunction with salary cap limitations, long term security and team chemistry are all factors that must be considered with this decision. I can imagine Cleveland’s GM David Griffin is calling Ms. Cleo for advice on what to do because these questions will remain: How does Cleveland fare with Wiggins? Is Love worth mortgaging half your future for a possible one year rental? How will the Cavs or Timberwolves recover from such a move? This move can make Cleveland and/or Minnesota re-emerge to the top and defeat the goliaths of the NBA like Little Giants did against the Cowboys (Gumbs, even as kids the Cowboys are taking L’s) so I call this decision the Annexation of Puerto Rico.
David Blatt, new Cavs coach, will be walking into a great situation regardless of who is there; Wiggins or Love. Whichever team Wiggins plays for knows that he will get major PT off the rip-Stevie J voice. This could impact the amount of minutes Dion Waiters gets for the Cavs or Zach Levine with the Timberwolves so could this trade turn into a three team trade where something gets Dion Waiters. One team that is interested in his services is the Philadelphia 76ers. They have money to burn and need to spend it quick maybe they give up Thaddeus Young and some expiring contracts to help facilitate this deal. All parties win in that respect and now the NBA season can officially start. Even if Dion Waiters doesn’t get traded he should be an early candidate for 6th man of the year.
Either place would be a great start for Wiggins because both teams have great ball handlers so there isn’t a need for Wiggins to handle the ball as often as before. Wiggins’ defense on the perimeter helps out the Cavs immediately. With Wiggins on the Cavs the pressure wouldn’t be as daunting because they have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving already there as established talent. Wiggins will have the opportunity to learn from the best player in the game and continue to blossom into a great player. He could contribute immediately but I don’t see a real impact until year 2 or 3. Wiggins’ future and development will skyrocket the max deals in 2016 after this new TV deal. Believe or not, Wiggins is still a teenager and with LeBron playing the old head role on a team of young gunners like Tom Shepherd from Above the Rim, he has the chance to live up to the hype that has propelled him as one of the greatest players since you guessed it…LeBron James. If he can’t learn from James then he will be remembered as a “what if” guy. Keeping Wiggins on the Cavs will give them a third star just not expeditiously as Joe Clarke would say but a star nonetheless. Is it fair to compare a James-Wiggins combo to Jordan-Pippen or am I reaching like a defender who just got crossed up by AI or Jamal Crawford.
Wiggins has some similarities to Pippen with respect to being a great perimeter defender who can score but will always be overshadowed by a better player which in this case is LeBron James. Even when Pippen was in Jordan’s shadow, he still went to the all-star 7 games and was on the all-defensive team 10 times. The big difference between these two couples is their age. Jordan and Pippen are only a few years apart whereas LeBron is 10 years older than Wiggins which means Wiggins can cement his own legacy and not be overshadowed by LeBron. When LeBron is beginning his battle with father time, Andrew will be just hitting the alarm clock. If Wiggins stays with Cleveland they still have a great chance to win now and they don’t sacrifice their financial future or draft picks in the process. Sometimes this win-now mentality proves to be a detriment to a franchise instead of an improvement (i.e. Knicks, Nets and others). I know everyone can’t have the farm system of the San Antonio Spurs but if there’s a model you want to use as the blueprint don’t look any further.
I’ve talked about Andrew Wiggins and how he’s a good fit for the Cavs now let’s talk about Love. If Love comes to the Cavs, they are one of the favorites to win a title now. They should win the Eastern Conference with a lineup of James, Love, Irving and the crew from Sunset Park. First thing first chemistry between these three players would be essential in the success of the Cavs. Because if this doesn’t work in Year 1, Kevin can leave and still get his money somewhere else and now your future is getting buckets in Minnesota instead of Cleveland. Kevin Love is the best power forward in the game and he can score which will make the pick and pop game as scary as the Monstars in the first half of Space Jam. Even though all of them are primary scoring options someone is going to sacrifice personal stats for team stats and the ultimate team stat is chips. Would Love be an improved Chris Bosh in this scheme? Would Cleveland be one of the highest scoring teams in the league with Love?
Where this is good there is bad, with all the buckets Kevin Love drops on a nightly basis, his weaknesses are on the defensive end. Sometimes he’s thinking about scoring his next bucket instead of stopping the other team from getting their bucket. Cleveland would have to pray that his jumper stay wet like hurricane season because his defensive shortcomings will be exploited and could be the chink in the Cavs armor that the rest of the league is looking for. Sometimes it feels like Kevin plays defense like Jamie Lannister because he only uses one hand. Cleveland would be a favorite in the East but watch out for those Chicago Bulls and Western teams like the San Antonio White Walkers ( I mean Spurs, OKC and possibly the Clippers). This will take some time for this super team to flourish to ultimate heights. Remember the Big 3 in Miami took 2 years; the question is how many years is Kevin willing to give?
One thing to remember is that Kevin is only 25 and has a good 7-10 years of basketball left but after this year; Kevin puts on his Beats by Dre and has Wu-Tang looping because Cash Rules Everything Around Me gotta get the money dolla dolla bill yaaaahhh. Love can opt out his contract and can easily get a 5 yrs. / 100 million deal for an assortment of teams. Could Love be the white Dwight Howard and force a trade to a team just to leave for another team a year later? That would be running through my mind if I were David Griffin but if you are a gambling man like Antoine Walker this could be a move that you have to make. Even though, Kevin Love is worth it signing him to a max deal will leave Cleveland’s payroll as thin as Jared from Subway but at least they don’t have to worry about anyone from their Big 3 leaving no time soon….unless LeBron decides to leave in 2016 but I doubt that happens. If Love is the third max player than other players like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson will be left out in the cold. Just know either combination with James and Kyrie would work but the question is how quick you want this work. From a GM’s perspective will you be like Rod Thorn when he rejected a trade for Dr. J to keep Michael Jordan or will you be Billy King and trade away your future for the present. Only time will tell and since time is moving slow so are the Cavs and Timberwolves.
Calling all young directors, we have a potential ESPN 30 for 30 in the making. Don’t believe just watch. All I ask is that I get a chance to narrate it but if Frank Caliendo is available I will understand.