After weeks of trade rumors, a deal was agreed to in principle Thursday which will send power forward Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in exchange for 2014 first-round draft pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 first-round draft pick Anthony Bennett, and a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
The trade cannot be completed until 30 days after Wiggins signed his contract, which will be August 23.
Love has previously stated interest in the opportunity to play with LeBron James, who signed a contract to return to Cleveland, the city where he began his career, last month. In being considered by many as the most dominant player in the sport, James’s decisions often have an influence on the decisions of other NBA players.
Love, 25, is coming off a stellar 2013-14 season, with career highs of 26.1 points per game and 4.4 assists per game, while also collecting 12.5 rebounds per game. He shot just under 46% and averaged over 36 minutes per game.
With James, and 22 year-old talent Kyrie Irving, the addition of Love builds an even stronger case for the Cavaliers to be considered serious playoff contenders this upcoming season. Cleveland has never won an NBA title, and the city has not seen a sports championship in 49 years.
James, who won two consecutive NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, said upon re-signing with the Cavaliers, that he hopes to provide the city of Cleveland with a championship of its own, and with Love, the chances of doing that have increased sufficiently.
Love spent his first six seasons in the NBA with Minnesota and averaged 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, while also appearing in three NBA All-Star games.
Wiggins, 19, was drafted first overall by Cleveland in June’s NBA draft. As a freshman at Kansas, Wiggins led the Jayhawks to a 25-10 record, and their 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
He averaged 17.1 points per game for the Jayhawks while shooting just under 45% from the field in 35 games.
Bennett, 21, was drafted first overall by Cleveland in the 2013 NBA draft, after playing one year at UNLV. With the Runnin’ Rebels, Bennett averaged 16.1 points per game while dealing with a shoulder injury throughout the second half of the year. He underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff that May of 2013.
With the Cavaliers in 2013-14, Bennett played in 52 games, averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds, in under 13 minutes of playing time per game.