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After months of hand-wringing speculation from the Minnesota Timberwolves staff and their fan base, the finale is finally here. Kevin Love will be traded.
To the team who everyone had reported would land him all along for the players that the experts surmised would be involved. The Cleveland Cavaliers will send the last two of the league’s #1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, and a future first round pick as well, although exactly which draft it will be for has yet to be determined, according to USA Today.
Kevin Love is a perennial All-Star who can carry a team in most major facets of the game; an elite rebounder, passer and scorer from all ranges on the court, Love, averaged 26 points and 12.5 rebounds per contest last year. One of the only knocks on Love’s game is that he’s not much of a defensive presence, but he should nonetheless fit in well with the revamped Cleveland roster, which includes newcomers LeBron James, considered by many to be the best player of the current generation, and role players James Jones and Mike Miller, James’s former teammates in Miami.
Bennett struggled mightily last year in his first NBA campaign, so much so that many were of the belief that no other rookie has ever put together a more terrible season to launch their career. Here are the numbers, if you can bear to look: 35 percent from the floor (as a power forward, who traditionally have higher marks in this area than guards), and 24 percent from downtown (another shockingly-low stat). The University of Las Vegas product looked lost for most of the season, his lack of confidence and comfort level with the pro game evident to onlookers.
Wiggins comes to the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes in much higher regard, and therefore much higher expectations. In his lone freshman season at Kansas, the 200 pound small forward just a hair over 17 points, and contributed just under 6 rebounds per game on 44.8 percent shooting, per stats from Basketball-reference.com. He’ll bring athleticism, defensive prowess, and shot-creating ability to Minnesota’s wing, according to NBADraft.net.
The anticipation of this blockbuster trade notwithstanding, it will undoubtedly comes as a shock to the Minnesota fan base that they have lost their second franchise superstar in less than a decade. Though they received a formidable haul in return, this will no doubt solidify Minnesota’s young but talented roster at the bottom of the standings, at least for the foreseeable future, while propelling the Cavaliers very deep into postseason play. The Love and James tandem should be fun to watch next spring.
Image via Facebook from Andrew Wiggins