Although the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves haven't spoken about a deal in days, the Cavs seem to be lining up pieces for a potential blockbuster following Tuesday's minor trade with the Utah Jazz.
The Cavs acquired John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy from the Jazz in exchange for Carrick Felix, a second-round pick and $1 million in cash.
The three players give the Cavs about $3.3 million in non-guaranteed money, which can be used to help match Love's incoming salary of $15.7 million in a potential trade. The Cavs do not need a third team to make a trade work for Love, but a deal becomes much more complicated if the Timberwolves insist the Cavs absorb other salaries.
The Timberwolves are trying to unload the contracts of point guard J.J. Barea (one year, $4.5 million) and veteran shooter Kevin Martin (three years, $21 million), according to Yahoo Sports, which first reported the Cavs trade with the Jazz. The Cavs could have difficulty making all of that money work under salary cap rules without the inclusion of a third team.
The Cavs are offering Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick in exchange for Love.
Wiggins is expected to sign his contract as early as Wednesday, a league source said. He won't be eligible to be traded for 30 days under league rules once he signs. Second-round pick Joe Harris is also expected to sign this week.
Lost in all of this, however, is a concern the Timberwolves aren't ready to strike a deal.
At least one source with knowledge of the discussions says talks between the Cavs and Timberwolves are stagnant. The two sides haven't spoke in about four days and there is concern within the Cavs whether the Timberwolves are even serious yet about dealing Love, particularly after owner Glen Taylor's public remarks last week about wanting Love to spend next season in Minnesota, which one source said seemed to tap the breaks on trade discussions.
The Chicago Bulls have re-emerged in trade talks with the Timberwolves regarding Love, ESPN reported on Tuesday. But the Cavs' offer of Wiggins, Bennett and a draft pick is still believed to be the best the Timberwolves have received because of Wiggins' star potential.
The Timberwolves, however, have yet to return to the postseason since trading Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics seven years ago. The Wolves' lack of success since dealing Garnett could be slowing the idea of trading another superstar power forward.
"My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp -- and I'm sure he will -- and play with the team," Taylor told NBA TV during summer league games. Talks between the Cavs and Timberwolves slowed after that comment, one source with knowledge of the discussions said.
As for the three players they acquired, Thomas is a 6-foot-9 forward who has already played for four NBA teams in three years. He also played under current Cavs coach David Blatt while with Maccabi Tel Aviv before he was released last year.
Lucas is a journeyman undersized point guard and the son of the former Cavaliers coach. Murphy, a 6-10 forward, played sparingly for the Chicago Bulls last season.
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