If the Cleveland Cavaliers want to win a title next year—and they do—then trading for Kevin Love, even if it means giving up Andrew Wiggins, is in their best interest. Love is just 25 years old and one of the top ten or so players in the league. He grabs rebounds at a high rate, throws inimitable outlet passes, and is a consistent scorer who’s more than comfortable stepping out behind the arc. With him, the Cavs become even more entertaining than they already will be, and he also puts them a step forward as favorites in the Eastern Conference. LeBron and company would have a very good chance to bring Cleveland a championship after all these years.
And yet, I hope this trade never happens.
I’m neither a Cavaliers nor a Timberwolves fan. This isn’t about hating the Cavaliers and not wanting them to win. In fact, I think it would be fantastic if LeBron showed up and won a title in his first year back with the Cavs. That would be an amazing story. But if it happens, I hope it happens with Andrew Wiggins along for the ride.
I believe it makes the most sense from a pure basketball standpoint for Cleveland to trade for Love. He’s a sure thing; he’s a star. For all his potential, Wiggins may never get to the level Love has already reached. The Cavs want to win a title now and don’t have time to wait for Wiggins to develop. I’m well aware of that fact, and I also realize how well Love could fit playing next to LeBron and Kyrie. A Cavs team with that trio would be an absolute joy to watch. But still, I don’t want a Wiggins for Love deal to go down.
It’s selfish, no doubt, but sometimes being selfish is okay. Watching Andrew Wiggins at the Las Vegas Summer League, I was mesmerized by the simultaneous athleticism and control. No matter how high he leaps, no matter how quick he steps back on his jumper, he is always in command. He still has room to grow, of course, but the foundation for greatness is well built. Imagining that infrastructure of skills and athletic ability being developed under the leadership of LeBron James is exciting—more so than the thought of LeBron playing with Love.
I want to see LeBron throwing alley-oops to Wiggins; I want to see Wiggins growing under LeBron’s mentorship; I want to see Wiggins become one of the all-time greats. But that can only happen if this trade doesn’t happen. Which, at this point it seems there’s a real possibility that LeBron, Love and Kyrie will become the next big three. And that would be a lot of fun—just not as much as if A. Wiggins stays in Cleveland.