In a development sparking internet rumors of an imminent Kevin Love trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anthony Bennett was pulled from a Toronto pro-am. Further stoking the fire? Bennett and Love are represented by the same agent, Jeff Schwartz.
am informed Bennett is not hurt, but he was told not to play and will sit out the rest of the OVO Bounce tourney. let the trade rumors swirl
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) July 30, 2014
Re: Anthony Bennett pulled from Toronto pro-am by agent…If anyone would know a Love trade nears, it's Jeff Schwartz, who reps both players
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) July 30, 2014
If anyone not employed by the Cavs or Minnesota Timberwolves is extra plugged-in to the Love talks, it’s certainly Schwartz. Given confirmation that Bennett’s absence from the pro-am is unrelated to injury, it’s only natural to assume a forthcoming Love trade is the means behind it.
The ‘Wolves stranded superstar has reportedly made his preference to play for Cleveland clear. Though the Cavs signing Andrew Wiggins to a rookie contract last week precludes them from trading him until late August, they can still agree in principle to a package that would send him to Minnesota for Love.
The Timberwolves want multiple assets for surrendering Love – likely Bennett, Wiggins, and a future first-round pick. That’s a king’s ransom for any player, but Love might be worth it given his seamless offensive fit in Cleveland and LeBron James’ noted wish to play with him.
Many wrote Bennett off after a dismal rookie campaign, but that was premature. The surprising number one pick of the 2013 draft, he suffered a summer shoulder injury that left him woefully out of shape for most of last season. Bennett was diagnosed with asthma and sleep apnea during the 2013-2014 season, too. Those physical limitations combined with irrational expectations and his role on a dysfunctional team contributed to a wildly discouraging rookie performance, leading some to believe that Bennett didn’t have a place in the league.
His recent play at Las Vegas Summer League quelled those concerns, but the reality of Bennett’s circumstance falls somewhere between past pessimism and new optimism. Writing off a player with his natural talent was never fair, and gleaning so much excitement from a merely solid performance against fringe-level players was irrational, too. Just as he was set up to fail in his rookie season with the Cavaliers, Bennett was primed for success in Summer League once he was finally healthy and in acceptable shape.
That the ‘Wolves want him as part of their haul for Love speaks to Bennett’s potential. But let’s not get carried away as a result of his play this summer, either. Whether he’s playing in Cleveland or Minnesota next season, here’s hoping Bennett develops into a solid rotation player.
What do you think?
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