The trade we all knew was inevitable finally became official last Saturday, with the Cleveland Cavaliers receiving Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a three-team deal that also included the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavs had to part with valuable assets in the trade, ridding themselves of No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Bennett and a future first-round draft in the trade.
But this was a no-brainer for Cleveland.
With LeBron James in the fold, the Cavs are in a win-now mode. And although the 19-year-old Wiggins has a significant amount of potential, he likely wouldn’t have been able to help King James take home an NBA title in 2015. Love can.
This trade absolutely makes Cleveland the top team in the Eastern Conference and they are probably the No. 2 title favorite behind the San Antonio Spurs.
Although Love has never made the postseason before, he’s an elite player in this league. He averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds this past season for the Wolves. He also shoots the ball well from outside (37.6 three-point percentage last season), which holds significant value playing with a versatile talent like James.
Cleveland’s Big Three of James, Love and Kyrie Irving is the top trio in the league. But this isn’t a three-man squad. Cleveland has other solid contributors such as Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and it’s certainly possible this team ends up also signing Ray Allen.
The free agent Allen has not announced whether he will return for a 19th NBA season yet, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported in early August that Allen would indeed play again and the Cavs are the favorites to land him.
Source: Ray Allen has told those close to him that he’ll play next season. Cleveland frontrunner but not 100 pct definite
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) August 9, 2014
This team isn’t perfect. There’s not a lot of defensive talent on this team, especially from a rim-protection standpoint.
But a team that fields James is always going to defend fairly well. Plus, the Cavs have so much offensive firepower that it might not have to defend at an elite level to win big.
The Cavs are the team to look out for in the East.