I think I speak for everyone when I say that the perpetual NBA trade rumor machine needs to take a couple of months off and let Major League Baseball and the NFL take over some headlines. But, following Minnesota Timberwolves young star, Andrew Wiggins, and his claim that he deserves nothing less than $148 million smackeroos, the T-Wolves are said to be in a position where trading Wiggins is a possibility – especially seeing that the trade for Jimmy Butler has made Wiggins somewhat expendable.
The 2014 No. 1 pick arrived in Minnesota prior to his rookie season thanks to a summer trade with Cleveland. Kyrie Irving’s reported trade request has sparked speculation that the Timberwolves might trade Wiggins back to the Cavaliers in a deal for the All-Star point guard, but Wiggins refused to take questions on trade scenarios and maintained that he wants to play in Minnesota next season.
However, despite both teams being able to facilitate that type of deal, the T-Wolves might be a bit more hesitant seeing that Irving could bolt after two seasons when his player option kicks in before the 2019-2020 season. Plus, Irving has made in known that he “badly” wants to play for the New York Knicks.
I got a phone call, and the voice on the other end of that phone call is a trustworthy person. And he was saying to me that Kyrie Irving very badly wants to be a New York Knick. Kyrie Irving wants to come home.
While many other types of deals could be done, the Cavs have remained relatively quiet this offseason and it’s no secret that LeBron James could very well bolt after next season. It’s also well-known that Carmelo Anthony – who’s been taken over by Kyrie as the leading NBA headline-grabber, has his mind set on Houston. However, if there is one other team that Anthony would play for, it would be for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Remember, Anthony could opt-out after next season if he feared that LeBron was going to bail.
And if we’re being objective, if Carmelo is about at least getting to an NBA Finals at this stage of his career, doing it through the Eastern Conference is by far the easier way to go. You always have a puncher’s chance with Bron-Bron. In addition, a three-team deal that involves the T-Wolves, Knicks and Cavaliers would make sense on several levels.
THREE TEAM TRADE: DETAILS:
Knicks Receive: Kyrie Irving, (Fillers – Cole Aldrich + Nemanja Bjelica)
Cavaliers Receive: Carmelo Anthony & Andrew Wiggins
Timberwolves Receive: Kevin Love (Possibly Frank Ntilikina)
This could very well be the first time in NBA history that the same players were part of a trade that sent them back to their original teams. But if there was any holdup in this deal it might be that the T-Wolves might want a draft pick thrown in considering they lost their pick in the Jimmy Butler deal and the only way they receive a pick is contingent upon how well the Oklahoma City Thunder do over the next two seasons, as the pick is 1-14 protected.
This really would be the perfect scenario for the Knicks because they would get a 25-year-old stud that would get the fans pumped up again at Madison Square Garden. More importantly, New York would be able to hold onto Frank Ntilikina and keep their first round draft selection in the subsequent years – something they haven’t been able to really do until Phil Jackson arrived. Now, even if the deal meant shipping the young point guard to the T-Wolves, New York would probably have to oblige to this so that the T-Wolves got back a young prospect in return.
But if you’re New York, you suddenly have an exciting core roster of Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Willy Hernangomez and Kristaps Porzgingis. That won’t have Knicks fans convinced they will be playing deep into May, but if KP continues to grow into the expected superstar many NBA experts predict he’ll become, New York might be one more good draft pick away from being the next young, up-and-coming team. Lastly, don’t forget that Lee’s contract could net back some prospects or a pick and Bjelica's contract is nearly $4 million expiring along with $3.7 million the Knicks would be recouping in the proposed deal. However, Noah’s deal would continue to haunt the Knicks, unless they used the stretch provision on him which could free up enough money to potentially go after a free agent next season along with adding another potential impact rookie.
How do the Cavs say no to this deal? It all depends on Carmelo Anthony of course, but Cleveland immediately replaces the scoring of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love with Anthony and Wiggins and become a better team to match up against the Golden State Warriors — assuming, of course, there were to be another NBA Finals matchup.
And this is all without mentioning Derrick Rose dropped 18 points per game last year. If – which of course is a huge risk – Rose could put together a good season, the Cavs would be looking at a lineup of Rose, Andrew Wiggins, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Tristan Thompson. The bench becomes even deeper with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon and Channing Frye.
And lastly, the Cavs would actually be set up somewhat alright if Rose, Carmelo and LeBron were to leave following the season because they’d have their young building block in Andrew Wiggins still there, in addition to owning their pick if it was between 1-10 in 2019. So theoretically the Cavs would have their 2018 pick – probably in the late 20s, along with a potential high lottery pick in 2019.
I think most Cavs fans would go all-in next season with Carmelo and Wiggins – who would seem like the perfect player to defend Kevin Durant, rather than not having them at all.
The T-Wolves would be bringing back a familiar face in Kevin Love – who had several monster seasons for the T-Wolves. Love would seemingly be the perfect fit to play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Love can help with the boards, stretch the floor, bring an additional winning pedigree he’s experienced playing in Cleveland and become a legit third banana to Towns and Butler.
If Minnesota was able to also land Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina, he could be used as a trade chip seeing that the T’Wolves have a capable backup point-guard in Tyus Jones. Shabazz Muhammad really came into his own last year and the team could benefit with him returning off the bench for the second unit.
Coach Thibs loves defenders and while Ntilikina is just a rookie, he has the length to play both positions in the future while Teague holds down the point guard spot right now.
Paying Love – who’s in his prime, $22.6 million over the next three seasons and will also help the spacing for stars Butler and Towns to have lanes — might be a better decision than signing Wiggins to a monster max deal. Remember, Wiggins is a suspect outside shooter whereas teams will be forced to defend Love on the perimeter and not be in the gaps helping out.
Seriously, which team says no to this proposed deal?
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