When LeBron came back to Cleveland in 2014, he wasn’t looking to play with Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs first overall pick that year. LeBron came back to play with another all-star, who became Kevin Love. At the time, most thought Minnesota had made a steal of a trade – getting the first overall pick who was expected to be a star for a disgruntled one. So how has that trade turned out for both teams?
As things played out, not only did the Cavs win a championship (and make four straight finals appearances) with Kevin Love as a key piece, but trading for Kevin Love also prevented another one. When Minnesota was shopping Kevin Love, another trade that came up was a trade that involved Klay Thompson to Minnesota and Kevin Love to the Warriors. If the trade with the Cavs fell through, the “Splash Brothers” would have never happened and Draymond most likely been relegated to the bench. If the Timberwolves made a different trade, the Cavs-Warriors rivalry would have been completely different.
Looking at it from the Timberwolves perspective, it’s clear Wiggins never became the player that Minnesota had hoped. They made this point when they traded him away to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell. The full Warriors deal included Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 top-three protected pick and a 2021 second-round pick for D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman. With the deal mainly centered around the Timberwolves 2021 pick, it’s obvious that Wiggins wasn’t the key piece to this deal. He was included mainly to match the salaries and add a bit of value.
As for the two other assets in the original Cavs and T-Wolves deal, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young, both ended up amounting to little in their time at Minnesota. Bennett, who was already being labeled a bust after a horrific rookie season in Cleveland, was later bought out. Young, a throw-in, was later traded to the Nets in exchange for an elderly Kevin Garnett.
In the end, the final deal was Kevin Love for Kevin Garnett, Anthony Bennett and some of D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman. With the Cavs coming away with a championship and Wiggins not becoming the player people anticipated, it’s clear the Cavs won this deal.
McMenamin, D. (2016). Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins [Digital image]. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://www.espn.com/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/1824/lebron-james-on-the-love-wiggins-trade-were-happy