The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be closing in on the completion of a trade to acquire Kevin Love. The trade rumors have been running rampant for weeks now and after the mayhem that was “The Return”, we have learned to pay closer attention to actual moves being made instead of all the noise. On Tuesday, the Cavs made a move that on its surface appears to be a step towards completing this blockbuster deal. The Cavs traded Carrick Felix to the Utah Jazz and in return received John Lucas, Malcom Thomas and Erik Murphy. The value in this trade lies in these three players non-guaranteed contracts, which add up to $3.3 million combined. Multiple reports have the Cavs offering Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round pick for Kevin Love. If the Cavs were to complete the trade for Love they have to make the numbers work. The Collective bargaining agreement states that the sum of the salaries being traded must be at least 80% of the salary they are obtaining. Wiggins cap value is worth nothing until he signs his contract, which is why the news that the Cavs are close to signing him to his rookie contract is proof of another step towards the realization of this deal. Wiggins cannot be traded for 30 days after he signs but this doesn’t play as big of a factor as the national media would like us to believe. The deal could be agreed upon at any time during that 30 days and finalized after that period is over, just like when a player agrees to a deal in free agency before the moratorium is lifted. Wiggins and Bennett’s salaries will be worth just over $11 million. So if the Cavs were to send the three players they acquired in the trade along with Wiggins and Bennett after Wiggins signs his rookie deal, the numbers would work in a trade to bring Love to Cleveland.
I have wavered back and forth in my opinion as to what is the best course of action for the Cavs. After, multiple flip flops, I now firmly believe that acquiring Love is the way to go if he can be obtained reasonably. However, there are a few points that need to be addressed pertaining to this potential deal. First of all, the only team involved in the Kevin Love sweepstakes that has received any sort of verbal commitment in regards to the signing of an extension is the Cavs. Love’s current contract allows him to opt out and enter the free agent market at the end of this season. That fact would normally put Love into a “rental player” category for most teams considering the money that he can potentially make on the open market. Love did the Cavs a disservice when he disclosed his interest in signing an extension with them. Flip Saunders knows that the only way the Cavs will do this deal is if the ink is drying on a Love extension when the trade completes. With that in mind, Minnesota is demanding a surcharge in value from the Cavs.
The second point worth noting is the lack of shooting guards on the potential Cavs roster after the Love trade. In no circumstance do I want to see Waiters traded. The Cavs should be operating under a decree that sternly states Wiggins or Waiters, not both. With Wiggins gone in the trade, the only real shooting guard on the roster is Waiters. The only other move that could potentially help that position would be if Ray Allen decides to come to the Cavs, and that is not much of a boost. In my opinion, Waiters is best utilized as a sixth man. So many teams in the NBA lose games because their second unit cannot score and there opponent holds an 8 minute advantage in the first half and the second. Waiters is instant offense and a guy that can get his own shot and create open shots for others when the starters are resting. He doesn’t play as well when he is on the floor with other players who dominate the ball, like Kyrie and Lebron. Ultimately, my concern is that with Wiggins gone, the Cavs do not have a legitimate shooting guard beyond Waiters and they do not have any way to acquire one. Of, course there are ways to work the rotation so that the exposure of such a weakness is limited, but trade Waiters and we have a huge problem in the back court.
By: Brad Ward
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