Andrew Wiggins Rumors

And-Ones: Fesenko, Wolves, Team USA

August 28 at 6:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Free agent center Kyrylo Fesenko made a positive impression on the Wolves during summer league play, and he’s dropped 20 pounds, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Fesenko has played for the Jazz and the Pacers, and has career averages of 2.3 PPG and 2.0 RPG over 135 games played.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The package that the Wolves received for Kevin Love is superior to the one that the franchise had gotten for Kevin Garnett, writes Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders. By acquiring Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from the Cavaliers, Minnesota essentially skipped two years of being in the NBA Draft lottery, opines Koutroupis.
  • Bob Donewald Jr. was hired by the Grizzlies to be the head coach of their NBA D-League team, the Iowa Energy, the team announced (Twitter link). Donewald most recently served as the head coach of the Chinese National Team, and he has also worked as an assistant coach for the Cavs and Pelicans.
  • With each game that passes for Team USA, so does the horror of Paul George‘s injury, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. In regards to how the team is coming to terms with what happened to George, Anthony Davis said, “That was a gruesome injury (to George), and it kind of affected all of us, even guys who weren’t playing. Basketball players around the world and people around the world got affected by it. But now we know that he’s doing fine and we’ve got to keep moving forward and try to win this gold for him. … I’m hoping that (this experience) makes me take a leap coming into the season next year.”

And-Ones: Thomas, Wiggins, Drew

August 26 at 10:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The NBA is creating more room around the basket stanchions and reducing the number of photographers along the baseline, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press reports. The league planned the changes before Paul George was hurt, league president of basketball operations Rod Thorn tells Mahoney, and that’ll prevent another injury of the sort that befell George, but that’s of little comfort to the Pacers at this point.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Isaiah Thomas tells Jeff Caplan of NBA.com that he never requested trade from the Kings, who wound up participating in the sign-and-trade that sent him to the Suns. I was always professional about every situation,” Thomas said. “I always came in with my hard hat on willing to do whatever is best for the team. When they signed Darren Collison, I knew I was going in a different direction.”
  • Larry Drew said that he was blindsided by the events which led to him being fired and replaced by Jason Kidd as coach of the Bucks, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. Drew also said, “From their [the owners'] standpoint, there’s no set time for these type of things. It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody. [Owner] Marc [Lasry] called me and I just wished him luck. I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
  • Andrew Wiggins just wanted to play for a team that wanted him, and called the completion of the deal that sent him to the Wolves a big relief, writes Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press.
  • Former NBA player Dominic McGuire has signed with Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli League, reports David Pick of Eurobasket (Twitter link). McGuire’s last NBA action came during the 2012/13 season with the Pacers, Pelicans, and Jazz. In six NBA seasons, he has averaged 2.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Wolves Notes: Rubio, Young, Saunders

August 24 at 2:07pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

In an interview with Enea Trapani of Sportando, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities discussed the impact the Love trade would have on Ricky Rubio. Wolfson said, “Rubio is on notice. The Wolves are trying to sign him to an extension, and so far his agent, Dan Fegan, is balking at the idea of a four-year, $43MM deal. That’s plenty for a player of Rubio’s caliber. It’s a lot more than Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague makes — maybe a better player — and is what Golden State All-Star guard Stephen Curry makes. But Fegan is seeking the five-year max. That’s not happening. The situation is pointing toward Rubio being a restricted free agent next summer. In other words, the 2014/2015 season is huge for Rubio. He should improve his shooting under Flip and we know he has unbelievable athletes to cut to the hoop and catch alley-oop passes.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • With the trade of Thaddeus Young, there are no players left from the Sixers‘ last playoff team, writes Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Young isn’t heading into an ideal situation in Minnesota, notes Ford, with both Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett figuring to cut into his minutes.
  • Timberwolves GM Milt Newton believes that Young’s production will improve in Minnesota, tweets Jon Krawczysnki of the Associated Press. Newton said, “I think he will be better statistically than he’s ever been based on all the options he will have in the offense.”
  • Timberwolves President and coach Flip Saunders relayed his thoughts on the franchise’s new acquisitions in an interview with NBA.com (video link).

Cavs Officially Acquire Kevin Love

August 23 at 1:07pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavaliers have officially acquired Kevin Love in a three-team deal that’s the blockbuster trade of the summer, the Wolves announced. The Wolves receive Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett from Cleveland and Thaddeus Young from the Sixers as part of the deal, while Philadelphia comes away with Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved from Minnesota and the Heat’s 2015 first-round pick from Cleveland. The agreement has reportedly been in place for weeks, but the inclusion of Wiggins kept it from becoming official until today. That’s because Wiggins, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, couldn’t be traded within 30 days after the Cavs signed him to his rookie scale contract on July 24th.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Minnesota TimberwolvesLove is the only asset going Cleveland’s way in the deal, but the Second-Team All-NBA power forward is the centerpiece of the trade. He joins LeBron James as the marquee additions for Cleveland in a landmark offseason, one that’s left them the favorites to win the Eastern Conference championship after four straight seasons outside the playoffs. Love is expected to opt out of his contract next summer after making more than $15.7MM this season, but the Cavs will have his Bird Rights and are heavy favorites to re-sign him, just as they are with James, who also possesses a player option for 2015/16. Love’s ability to hit free agency in 2015 helped precipitate the trade, as he’s made it clear that he had no intention of staying with Minnesota beyond the coming season.

The Warriors, Bulls, Celtics, Nuggets, Lakers, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Wizards and Suns have all been linked to Love in various reports at one point or another since mid-May, when the Wolves ramped up their efforts to trade him. It appeared even before James decided to sign with Cleveland that Love would like to join the Cavs if it meant he could play with James, and James reportedly reached out to Love to reciprocate his interest in becoming teammates. The Warriors appeared to come closest to beating out Cleveland for Love, but Golden State’s unwillingness to include Klay Thompson left the sides at a stalemate, particularly once the Cavs relented to Minnesota’s insistence that Wiggins be part of any deal that would ship Love to Cleveland.

Still, others made strong pushes, including the Celtics, particularly in the wake of Love’s weekend visit to Boston around the beginning of June, but the Wolves showed disinterest in dealing with the C’s. The Suns reportedly made a call Friday to see if Minnesota would send Love their way in a sign-and-trade arrangement involving Eric Bledsoe, but the Wolves were unmoved.

Wiggins is the marquee attraction for Minnesota, and he joins Chris Webber as the only No. 1 overall picks since the merger to change teams before playing a single regular season game for the franchises that drafted them. Wiggins had a somewhat disappointing season at Kansas after having been the consensus favorite a year ago to become the top pick, creating doubt that lingered almost until the draft began about whether he, fellow Jayhawk Joel Embiid, or Jabari Parker would go No. 1 overall. Still, Wiggins possesses superstar potential, some of which he put on display in the summer league last month, when he showed off his athleticism as part of Cleveland’s squad.

There were conflicting reports about whether Bennett would join Wiggins in heading to Minnesota or be rerouted to Philadelphia, but it became clear on Thursday that Bennett would become a Timberwolf. Bennett’s performance as a rookie was thoroughly underwhelming and he’ll have a tough time living up to having been the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. Still, there’s hope that he can become a key component on a winning team after having been widely projected as a mid-lottery selection before the Cavs surprisingly took him with the top pick.

The Wolves have reportedly been enamored with Young for a while, and they’ll have a chance to plug him into the starting lineup as Love’s replacement at power forward for at least one season. Young, like Love, can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer, but he probably wouldn’t draw nearly as many suitors, and he’s never expressed unwillingness to play in Minnesota. Young will make more than $9.4MM this season, and if he opts in, he’ll receive almost $10MM in 2015/16.

The Sixers, having shed other well-paid veterans in an aggressive rebuilding effort over the past 15 months or so, had reportedly sought a future first-round pick for Young in advance of the trade deadline in February, so this deal facilitates that apparent desire. The Heat’s 2015 first-round pick that’s coming from the Cavs is protected for the top 10 picks the next two years, but it would become unprotected for 2017, according to RealGM. In a coincidental twist, the Heat originally traded that pick to Cleveland in the sign-and-trade that brought LeBron to Miami in 2010.

Philadelphia also reaps Mbah a Moute, who’s already close with Embiid, whom the Sixers drafted third overall in June. Mbah a Moute has mentored Embiid, a fellow native of Cameroon. Mbah a Moute is on the books at nearly $4.4MM for the upcoming season, but he, like Shved, who’ll make nearly $3.3MM, is on an expiring contract, ensuring the Sixers won’t be stuck with their salaries past next summer. That wouldn’t have been the case with Young, who might have opted in.

The Wolves had sought to unload Mbah a Moute, Shved, as well as J.J. Barea, all of whom are on fairly player-friendly deals. Minnesota can create a trade exception worth $4,644,503 as part of the transaction, with the figure equivalent to the difference between Love’s salary and the combined salaries of Wiggins and Bennett. The trade appears to leave the Wolves with a haul that’s about as impressive as possible for a team that’s surrendering the only established superstar in the deal, and most Hoops Rumors readers gave the team high marks for the package it’s receiving.

The move drops Cleveland’s roster count by one, to 17, while the Sixers net one more player to reach a total of 15. Still, Philadelphia is carrying only seven players on fully guaranteed contracts, fewer than every other team in the league. Minnesota remains at 15 players, all of whom have fully guaranteed deals, meaning the Wolves are no closer to creating an opening for second-round pick Glenn Robinson III, as they’ve hoped to do, or finding a spot for Dante Cunningham, with whom talks have picked up.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports originally reported that Cleveland and Minnesota had an agreement in principle. Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote of the Sixers’ involvement in the swap and Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune nailed down the final structure of the trade. Wojnarowski also noted Minnesota’s interest in unloading Mbah a Moute, Shved and Barea. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links), Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter links), Dan Barreiro of KFAN Sports Radio (Twitter link) and Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link) provided additional detail.

Cavs To Acquire Kevin Love

August 23 at 12:40pm CDT By Chuck Myron

AUGUST 23RD, 12:40pm: The teams have completed their trade call with the league, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), so an official announcement is expected to come shortly.

10:28am: A source close to Stein says the teams will make it one three-way swap rather than two separate trades, as long as there aren’t any last-minute changes (Twitter link).

AUGUST 22ND, 8:48am: The latest dispatch from Marc Stein of ESPN.com indicates that the arrangement could turn out to be two separate deals after all, and Wojnarowski appears to suggest the same in his story. Sam Amick of USA Today casts it as one three-team swap, however, which puts him in accordance with Zgoda’s report from late Thursday. In any case, it appears clear that Love will end up in Cleveland, Wiggins, Bennett and Young will head to Minnesota, and Mbah a Moute, Shved and the Heat’s 2015 first-round pick are destined for Philadelphia.

11:08pm: The three-team deal will be finalized on Saturday, the day the 30-day restriction on trading Wiggins expires, Zgoda reports. Zgoda confirms the previously-reported specifics of the deal and adds that the Wolves will also receive a trade exception believed to be worth at least $4 million. The deal will be announced on Saturday after the completion of a call with the league office.

3:08pm: It’ll go down as a three-team deal, rather than one separate transaction involving Love and another involving Young, as Dan Barreiro of KFAN Sports Radio and Krawczynski both expect (Twitter link). Based on the most recent reports, that wound send Love to the Cavs, while the Wolves would get Young, Wiggins and Bennett, with the Sixers set to receive Mbah a Moute, Shved, and the 2015 first-round draft pick that Cleveland had acquired from the Heat.

2:40pm: The Wolves are in line to send Mbah a Moute and Shved to the Sixers, according to Zgoda (Twitter link). The Star Tribune scribe wrote a few weeks ago that the Wolves wanted to send Barea to Philadelphia, but Zgoda clarifies today that Barea isn’t part of the arrangement. Zgoda also speculated earlier this month that Shabazz Muhammad could be a part of the deal, but it’s “highly unlikely” that Muhammad will be involved, Wolfson tweets.

12:09pm: Three sources tell Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that Young will go to the Wolves but Bennett won’t be heading to the Sixers, advancing the earlier reports (Twitter links).

12:00pm: The belief around the league is that Young will wind up with Minnesota, according to Wolfson (Twitter link).

AUGUST 21ST, 8:46am: Sixers GM Sam Hinkie wants to acquire the first-rounder that the Cavs are shipping out in the deal, Zgoda tweets. Zgoda wrote a few weeks ago that the Wolves hoped to send that pick, likely the Heat’s 2015 first-round selection as we noted below, to Philly as part of a package for Young, so it seems a fair bet that the pick winds up with the Sixers.

AUGUST 20TH: Zgoda casts doubt on the notion that Bennett will end up with the Sixers as part of the deal (Twitter link). That would suggest that Bennett isn’t heading to Philadelphia any time soon as part of a separate transaction, as I explained.

AUGUST 8TH: 2:22pm: Young says the Sixers haven’t given him or agent Jim Tanner any notification that he’ll be traded, as Lynam writes in her full piece.

10:54am: Young tells Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com that, “I have not been traded,” though that could be a matter of semantics, as no trade is yet official (Twitter link).

9:16am: Fellow Daily News scribe Bob Cooney seconds the news that Young is headed to Minnesota and Bennett will go to Philadelphia, but he suggests the move will take place as a separate transaction (Twitter link). Still, it would make more sense if it were part of the Love trade, since the salaries in a standalone Young-Bennett swap wouldn’t meet the NBA’s salary-matching requirements.

FRIDAY, 8:08am: The Sixers will indeed be a part of the deal, as they’ll acquire Bennett from the Cavs and send Young to the Wolves, a source tells Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News. Bennett will give Philadelphia three of the top 11 picks from the 2013 draft, joining Nerlens Noel and reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Young figures to slide in as Love’s replacement at power forward in Minnesota, though he has the chance to opt out and hit free agency in 2015, just like Love.

THURSDAY, 2:58pm: John Lucas III, whom the Cavs acquired from the Jazz last month, isn’t a part of the Love trade as it stands, but there’s a decent chance Cleveland will send him out in the deal with the Wolves, tweets USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt.

12:51pm: The potential that a third team becomes involved still exists, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune suggested earlier today that the possibility remained in play. The Wolves continue to work with the Sixers, Krawczynski also tweets, and Zgoda outlined what Minnesota would want to accomplish in a arrangement that would net them Thaddeus Young, as we passed along.

12:35pm: The protected 2015 first-rounder going to Minnesota will likely be the Heat’s pick, Wojnarowski tweets. Miami owes that selection to the Cavs from the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2010, according to RealGM.

11:56am: There’s no agreement regarding a new max deal for Love, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Berger hears from two sources who suggest that Love will wait to see what James does with his ability to hit free agency next summer.

8:26am: The Wolves and Cavs have reached an agreement in principle on a deal that will send Kevin Love to the Cavs for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Cleveland is doing the deal with a firm commitment from Love that he will opt out of his contract next summer and re-sign with the team for the max, Wojnarowski adds. Surprisingly, there’s no third team involved, in spite of a string of rumors indicating that the Wolves were high on acquiring Thaddeus Young from the Sixers. The swap can’t become official until August 23rd, the first day following the 30-day period in which the Cavs are barred from trading Wiggins after signing him to his rookie scale contract.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Minnesota TimberwolvesThe teams had agreed to the precise terms weeks ago, but the Cavs and Wolves are staying silent until they can formalize the trade, sources tell Wojnarowski. The Cavs feared the Bulls would instead trade for Love and block the path to the Eastern Conference title, and that helped prompt Cleveland to close on the deal, Wojnarowski hears. That’s in spite of Chicago’s last formal offer having come before the draft in June, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). That conflicts with a report from late July that indicated that the Bulls had offered Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott. Chicago stayed in contact with the Wolves, but the Bulls understood that when the Cavs made Wiggins available, it would have required them to make too strong an offer to compete, Johnson adds (on Twitter).

Cavs officials were also cognizant that it would be difficult for them to clear the cap space necessary to sign Love as a free agent next summer without his Bird rights, according to Wojnarowski. The trade will allow Cleveland to have those Bird rights, which will let the team exceed the cap to re-sign him.

The Wolves had sought to unload some of their player-friendly contracts in a Love trade, and they still hold out hope of parting with J.J. Barea, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved in subsequent moves, according to Wojnarowski. Minnesota is also still trying to acquire Young from the Sixers, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, but it’s unclear if the efforts are related at this point.

The agreement ends more than two months of intense Love-related rumors after Love made it clear to the Wolves that he would hit free agency next summer and Minnesota began to seriously consider trades. The Bulls and Warriors appeared at the top of Love’s list of preferred destinations at that point. Golden State remained a prime contender for weeks, but their decision against including Klay Thompson in a deal appears to have scuttled any chance Love would end up in the Bay Area. Love made a high-profile visit to Boston around the first of June, but Minnesota wasn’t interested in any assets the Celtics had to offer.

Love reportedly made Cleveland his top choice following the return of LeBron James to the Cavs, and even before the four-time MVP left Miami, Love indicated that he would be 100% on board with joining the Cavs if James were also on the team. James reportedly reached out to Love to tell him he’d like for them to play together in Cleveland and appeared to signal to Cavs management that he wanted them to trade for the All-Star power forward. James conspicuously left Wiggins’ name out of the essay he co-authored with Lee Jenkins of SI.com when he announced his decision to return to Cleveland.

The addition of Love, a 25-year-old three-time All-Star, puts the Cavs squarely in the title race this season. Just as the trade can’t be finalized until August 23rd, Love’s commitment to sign a five-year max contract with the team next summer can’t be official until next July, so much of the arrangement relies on everyone involved keeping their word. James can opt out of his deal with the Cavs and hit free agency next summer, too, so there are few concrete certainties. Still, it appears the Cavs are well-positioned for the future even as they relinquish consecutive No. 1 overall draft selections in Wiggins and Bennett. Wiggins, in particular, makes parting with Love easier to swallow for Minnesota, and his vast potential means there’s a decent chance the Wolves will ultimately emerge with a better return for having traded a superstar than any other team to have done so.

The Nuggets, Suns, Lakers, Rockets, Kings, Knicks, and Wizards were among the other teams connected to Love throughout the process, but the Cavs had emerged as clear front-runners in recent weeks. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com suggested in a radio appearance a few days ago that Cleveland and Minnesota had a handshake agreement in place. The vast majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted in our poll even before Windhorst’s comments believed Love would be with the Cavaliers by the start of the season.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Wolves, Cuban, Young

August 23 at 12:35pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Analysts have mixed opinions about whether or not Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders is getting the best possible return for Love, writes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune. The deal will only be as good as Andrew Wiggins‘ development becomes, opines Youngblood.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The crew over at Basketball Insiders (video link) discuss the Love trade, and what it means for all the teams involved.
  • It will be a few seasons before a clear winner in the Love trade is determined, but Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders discusses the possible outcomes for each team involved.
  • Thaddeus Young is facing another long season of losing, this time with the Wolves, writes Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted to best Rockets GM Daryl Morey in free agency this offseason, he relayed in an interview with Dallas’ KRLD-FM 105.3 (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News). Cuban said, “Oh, all good business is personal. Trust me, there’s nobody more competitive than me. Every bit of me wanted to kick his [expletive deleted] and I would have felt bad. Obviously they got Dwight Howard a couple of years ago. Yeah, I wanted to beat him. And that’s a compliment to him. Daryl is very smart. It was very much like a game of chess.”
  • Cuban also weighed in on the Rockets inquiries about acquiring Dirk Nowitzki. Cuban said, “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ He asked if we’d trade Dirk. At first I thought it was taunting, but now knowing more about Daryl I don’t think it was in hindsight. That’s just not his style. It says a lot about their approach more than anything else. They just have a different understanding and approach to chemistry than we do. Some teams, and that’s not just the Rockets, just put together talent and the talent takes care of itself. We think chemistry matters. When Carmelo came to visit us, there was no chance that we were going to put him in someone else’s jersey number and put it on the outside of the arena. That’s not our style.”

Poll: Grade Wolves’ Haul For Love

August 21 at 8:18pm CDT By Alex Lee

With the pieces of the Kevin Love trade on the verge of becoming official, we can finally begin to think about what this deal means for some of the less-publicized parties involved. We know what it signifies for the Cavaliers, who will acquire their second superstar of the offseason to go with a promising young point guard in Kyrie Irving. I think we can all agree that morphing from the team drafting first in June into the NBA favorite by August is an A-plus offseason any way you slice it.

But how did Minnesota make out in this deal? When all the dust settles on this three-way trade — assuming it’s finalized as is currently being reported — the Timberwolves will have ultimately moved Love, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (via Twitter), it’s hard to imagine team president Flip Saunders could have acquired a better package for a star player he was probably a year away from losing for nothing. Do you agree?

History has shown us that trading superstars in their prime is risky business in the NBA. Sometimes the package is led by one prized asset and ancillary pieces with upside, as was the case in the deals for Charles Barkley (Jeff Hornacek), Ray Allen (Jeff Green), Kevin Garnett (Al Jefferson) and Chris Paul (Eric Gordon). Other times we see star-for-star swaps, like Tracy McGrady for Steve Francis or Jason Kidd for Stephon Marbury. And occasionally teams are forced to trade their studs for pennies on the dollar, as we saw with Shaquille O’Neal (traded to the Heat) and Vince Carter (traded to the Nets).

What we don’t usually see is a fair return for a superstar player — if it even exists — which leads us back to Minnesota’s haul for Love. In Wiggins, the Wolves will land the first overall pick in a loaded draft before he plays a minute in a regular season NBA game. In Bennett, they’ll land a guy who is a year removed from also being selected at the top of the draft. And finally, in Young, they’ll land a veteran who seems destined to be a tremendous role player on a contender.

With all of that in consideration, what grade would you assign Saunders and the Timberwolves for the Love deal? Feel free to justify your grade in the comments section.

And-Ones: Gaddy, Heat, Wiggins

August 10 at 12:29pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

With the soon-to-be blockbuster trade that will see Kevin Love head to Cleveland to play alongside LeBron James approaching the date it can be made official, the debate now begins as to who is the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders breaks down the contenders and their chances to reach the NBA Finals.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Abdul Gaddy has signed a one-year deal to play for Virtus Bologna in the Italian Lega A, reports Chris Reichert of SB Nation. Gaddy most recently had played for the Pelicans in the NBA’s summer league, averaging 5.2 PPG and 3.2 APG while logging 15.9 minutes per contest. Last season, Gaddy played for the Maine Red Claws in the NBA D-League, appearing in 46 games, and averaging 9.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 5.0 APG in 27 minutes per game.
  • Despite losing LeBron to the Cavs this offseason, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel doesn’t believe it signifies the Heat organization has lost its luster. Winderman believes potential free agents will care more about how the current players are performing, and how well the franchise fares in upcoming drafts, rather than entertaining the perception that Miami isn’t an attractive place to play anymore.
  • According to Kansas coach Bill Self, Andrew Wiggins is the best natural athlete who has ever played for him, writes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune. While Wiggins has been aware of all the trade talk revolving around him, Self said playing in Minnesota will give his former player plenty of room to grow. Self also added, “That’s the way he [Wiggins] sees it. He’s happy. Don’t anybody feel sorry for him. I’m not saying he hasn’t been in limbo and that it hasn’t, at times, been frustrating. But he told me, ‘Coach, I’m good with this.’ He told me that two weeks ago.’’

Reaction To Kevin Love Trade Agreement

August 7 at 6:47pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The big news of the day was the reported agreement between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves, which would send Kevin Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a protected 2015 first-round pick. Here’s the latest commentary from around the league regarding the soon-to-be blockbuster trade:

  • Potential carries no guarantees, writes Bill Livingston of the Plain Dealer, who applauds the Cavs’ decision to turn consecutive No. 1 overall draft picks into Love, a proven veteran.
  • Love could bolt after one season, just like LeBron James, but odds are he won’t, and one of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s guiding principles in business is to pounce on an opportunity even if it’s not perfect, as fellow Plain Dealer scribe Terry Pluto points out.
  • The Timberwolves’ 2014/15 season will be about their core of young talent trying to reach their potential, writes Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press.
  • During his time in Minnesota, Love has been criticized for his poor defense, the perception that he wasn’t a team player, and the Wolves failure to reach the playoffs. Now that he’ll be playing alongside a much more talented cast, Love is officially out of excuses, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.
  • The trade cannot become official until August 23rd at the earliest. Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders runs down five things you need to know about the deal.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Latest On Kevin Love Talks

August 4 at 10:58pm CDT By Zach Links

10:58pm: Earlier today, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told ESPN Radio New York (audio link) that a “handshake” deal is in place between the Wolves and Cavs.

8:49pm: A deal that would involve Kevin Love being shipped to the Cavs and Andrew Wiggins going to the Wolves has been in play for weeks, but there is no deal in place yet because there are many other smaller parts of the deal that have yet to be agreed upon, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the other suitors for Love – including the Warriors, Bulls, and Celtics - took a backseat once it was learned that Cleveland was making the No. 1 pick in June’s draft available (link).  Still, while it’s clear that the Cavs are far and away the frontrunners for a deal, there’s still lots of work to be done before Love can be routed to Cleveland.

The core package that has been mentioned often would have the Cavs sending Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a future first round choice to the Wolves for Love.  It has also been said that a third team would likely be brought in to help facilitate the trade and the Sixers appear to be very willing partners.  After checking in with a source tonight, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter) believes that Bennett would wind up in Philadelphia if the 76ers are the third team in the transaction.  The Wolves instead would prefer to have Thaddeus Young and, apparently, it’s not even close in their minds (link).

Minnesota’s interest in Young was noted late last month, though their interest had apparently been there for quite some time.  Young is set to make more than $9.4MM this coming season and has an early termination option he can exercise to hit free agency next summer.