The one-year anniversary of the Kevin Love trade is Sunday, but we’ll get the jump today and look back at last year’s foremost blockbuster. The official announcement of the deal, which took place on August 23rd, 2014, was a long time coming, as the Cavs and Timberwolves had been working on the swap for months and had to wait for Andrew Wiggins to become eligible for inclusion in the deal. The Sixers became involved during the process, and they scored a first-rounder and two players in exchange for Thaddeus Young.
The Cavs, who went to the Finals, and the Timberwolves, who finished with the league’s worst record, won the lottery and picked Karl-Anthony Towns No. 1 overall, have predictably taken divergent paths since the swap. The Sixers have continued in their slow rebuilding, with their involvement Love trade just one part of a lengthy process. However, the story for many of the figures involved is more complicated.
Below is a look at each of the six players in the trade and what’s happened to them in the past 12 months. We’ve also broken down the fate of the draft pick promised as part of the deal. See it all here:
- Kevin Love (Timberwolves to Cavaliers) — The past season was one to forget for Love, who put up his worst numbers of the past five years. Some of that was to be expected, as he figured to play more of a complementary role on a team with greater talent than he’d ever played with in Minnesota, but Love and new Cavs coach David Blatt struggled to find a role that maximized the power forward’s abilities. A shoulder injury in the first round of the playoffs that knocked him out for the rest of the postseason somehow served as a fitting coda to a frustrating year. Rumors that he’d flee Cleveland for the Lakers or Celtics dogged Love all season, but he just as consistently denied them, and he affirmed his long-term commitment to the Cavs when he re-signed in July on a five-year max deal, one that also made clear Cleveland’s belief in him as a max player.
- Andrew Wiggins (Cavaliers to Timberwolves) — The centerpiece of the package going to Minnesota is already well on his way to making this known more prominently as “the Andrew Wiggins trade.” He entered college two years ago with the expectation that he’d become the next NBA superstar, and while he underwhelmed at Kansas, he spent his first pro season regaining a sterling reputation. He didn’t fall too far with the Jayhawks, having done enough to become the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, and he ran away with voting for the Rookie of the Year award this spring.
- Thaddeus Young (Sixers to Timberwolves) — The Timberwolves apparently insisted on receiving Young instead of the Heat’s first-round pick that had been Cleveland’s, in the hopes that the veteran forward would help the team compete for a playoff berth last season. Injuries scuttled the idea of a playoff run soon after the season began, and while Young was Minnesota’s third-leading scorer at 14.3 points per game, he reportedly told the Wolves he would opt out at season’s end, helping prompt them to trade him to the Nets at the deadline for Kevin Garnett. That swap completed a circle of sorts for Minnesota, which had drafted Love to replace Garnett a year after the deal that sent KG to Boston in 2007. Young fit in seamlessly with the Nets and re-signed with Brooklyn on a four-year, $50MM deal.
- Anthony Bennett (Cavaliers to Timberwolves) — The 2013 No. 1 overall pick showed some improvement last year after his profoundly disappointing rookie season, but he still averaged only 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game. The Wolves reportedly brought up Bennett’s name in trade talk with other teams at the deadline, and they apparently spoke to the Celtics in June about the idea of dealing Bennett to Boston. In a series of polls in which Hoops Rumors readers have been reconstructing the 2013 draft, Bennett has gone undrafted through 13 picks so far.
- Alexey Shved (Timberwolves to Sixers) — The shooting guard whose minutes had fallen off in 2013/14 after a strong rookie season in 2012/13 spent this past year bouncing from team to team. The Sixers traded him to the Rockets in December in a deal that essentially netted the Sixers the 58th overall pick in this year’s draft, and Houston flipped Shved to the Knicks at the deadline. New York reportedly failed to offer Shved the $2.814MM salary for the coming season that he had been seeking, so he instead signed with CSKA Moscow on a three-year, $10.2MM deal that makes him Europe’s highest-paid player.
- Luc Mbah a Moute (Timberwolves to Sixers) — Mbah a Moute posted the highest points and minutes per game of his seven-year NBA career with the Sixers, whose stripped-down roster allowed him greater opportunity than ever. He also served as a mentor for fellow Cameroon native Joel Embiid as Embiid sat out the season with injury, but with Embiid’s career in limbo following another season-ending problem with his foot, Mbah a Moute signed with the Kings last month for a $1.55MM salary. However, Mbah a Moute’s health also came into question, and Sacramento voided the deal because of a shoulder issue. The union was to have filed a grievance earlier this month.
- Miami’s top-10 protected 2015 first-round pick (Cavaliers to Sixers) — The Heat’s debt is still outstanding on the pick that was originally part of Cleveland’s ransom for LeBron James in the sign-and-trade deal that sent him to Miami in 2010. The Sixers nearly wound up with the draft choice this year, but the Heat emerged from the lottery with pick No. 10, the last within the protected range. That pick is again top-10 protected for 2016, but barring another injury-filled season in Miami, the Heat should make playoffs, an outcome that would see the selection finally convey to Philly. A slight possibility exists that the pick will end up going to the Warriors thanks to the Gerald Wallace/Jason Thompson trade. If the pick somehow falls within the top 10 again in 2016, the Heat will keep it but will be forced to send their 2017 first-rounder, with no protection, to the Sixers.
What’s your take on the trade now that a year has passed? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.