The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t currently including Andrew Wiggins in their trade package to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love, but might have the juice to complete a deal anyway. The only hold-up? The Cavs are refusing to part with protected first-round picks that the ‘Wolves desire, a report says.
Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times and WSSP 1250 was first to report the news.
Told TWolves ready to pull trigger on sending Love to Cleve, but Cavs balking on future No. 1 picks. Seriously?
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 22, 2014
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman offered further insight on the picks Minnesota seeks.
Cleveland Cavs have two chips to include to try and get Kevin Love few are talking about: protected picks from Miami and Memphis.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 22, 2014
A key word here is “protected.” The Miami Heat will only surrender their pick to Cleveland if it falls outside the draft’s top 10 choices in 2015 or 2016; there are no restrictions on the pick in 2017. The Cavs will only receive the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-round choice if it’s a selection between 6-14 in 2015 or 2016; the pick is protected 1-5 in 2017 and 2018 and unprotected in 2019.
After losing LeBron James, Miami brought back Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in addition to signing Luol Deng, making it a likely playoff team next season. If that assumption holds true, the Heat will send their first-round pick to the Cavs next season – one likely in the late teens or early twenties.
Memphis’ situation is more complicated than Miami’s. The Grizzlies appear firm as a sub-contender in the West, but the conference is so loaded with quality teams that a significant injury or two could easily make them lottery-bound in either of the next two seasons. It’s possible Memphis conveys its first-rounder to Cleveland in 2015 or 2016, giving the Cavs a mid-to-late lottery pick. What seems more likely is that the Grizz hold steady as a playoff team for the foreseeable future and send their pick to Cleveland in 2017 when it’s only protected for the draft’s first five selections.
These picks coming the Cavs’ way obviously have value, but there’s hardly assurance that they’ll be anything more than mid-to-late first-round choices. If all that stands in the way of Cleveland getting Love and keeping Wiggins are these draft selections, they certainly seem worth giving up.
That’s not to say the Cavaliers’ reticence doesn’t make a sliver of sense. The Heat serve as a cautionary tale from that perspective. Left without first-round picks in multiple drafts of the Big Three era, Miami – lacking financial flexibility – didn’t have the means to acquire cheap, young talent. With Love aboard and due an extension next summer, James surely commanding the max over the next few seasons, and Kyrie Irving locked in with a maximum contract of his own, Cleveland would be similarly cash-strapped to add worthwhile players, making its draft choices extra valuable. The Cavs will likely send their 2016 first-round pick to the Boston Celtics, too.
But these are minor quibbles with a core of James, Irving, Love, and Wiggins in place, and the latter will be inexpensive relative to his worth for several seasons. The cap is primed to spike dramatically over the next two seasons, as well, making a deal Love signs next summer cheaper than it appears.
There’s been so much refuted intel regarding Love, Wiggins, and the Cavaliers over the past few days that every report must be taken with a grain of salt. Camps of both teams and several individual players have incentive to float misinformation at this juncture, and the flimsy nature of recent news on the subject suggests they’re doing just that.
A report by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, for instance, seems to indicate that salary-matching discrepancies are complicating trade matters. Or perhaps they’re a portion of the problem – there’s just no way to tell for sure.
Cleveland's searching league for non-guaranteed contracts that potentially could be included in a bigger deal later, sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 22, 2014
But if the Cavs really are letting protected first-round picks preclude them from acquiring Love while holding onto Wiggins, it’s a monumental – and potentially championship-deciding – error in judgment.
Would you give up these picks in addition to players for Love?
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