Wiggins for Love Shows LeBron Wants to Win Now


Jun 27, 2014; Independence, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt (left) listens as first round pick Andrew Wiggins speaks to the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

As an NBA fan living in Cincinnati, or with roots in the Queen City, who is your team?  Is it the Indiana Pacers, just down the road in Indianapolis?  Or maybe you’re a carryover from the nineties and root for the Chicago Bulls?   Or are the Cleveland Cavaliers your team?  If so, then you may not have much in common with Andrew Wiggins for long, as buzz is brewing around his imminent departure, as reported this morning by Chris Broussard on ESPN.com.  If the Cavs swap Wiggins for Kevin Love, it will be an early indication of just how much clout LeBron James will wield in his second go-round with Cleveland.

Wiggins, you might remember, was the Cavs’ pick in the 2014 NBA Draft not even a month ago.   Generally, the overall number one selection in any draft gets a chance to prove himself with his new team before he is shipped off, unless he is a pouting quarterback (see John Elway and Eli Manning).  In this case, though, it seems the Cavs are willing to swap the promise that Wiggins brings for the immediacy of Love’s status as a top-five player.  Just after signing James last week, Cleveland insisted that Wiggins was not on the table, even if it meant bringing in Minnesota’s star forward in return.

After some time to sleep on it, apparently, and almost certainly after some prodding from King James, the Cavs and general manager David Griffin have had a change of heart.   Rather than wait for the trade deadline to see where they are, Cleveland is striking now, and Yahoo! Sports (according to Broussard) reports that James has reached out to Love in the last couple of days.

The reversal is understandable from the Cavs’ perspective in that LeBron will be 30 years old before 2015 rolls around, and they need to maximize the backside of his career.  Love probably gives them the best chance to win now and for a few years, even at the expense of  a young talent.

Still, the break-neck speed change makes it clear that LeBron is driving the Cavs’ bus now, even if he is officially listed as simply “Forward” on Cleveland’s official roster.   His wishes and influence may finally lead Cleveland to a championship, but the Minnesota Timberwolves may be looking back to this moment five years from now and smiling at their fortune in landing one of the best players in the game.