Basketball / Sports

Report: Cavs, Timberwolves finalize trade for Kevin Love

The final piece of the "monumental" offseason predicted by Cavs General Manager David Griffin now appears to be in place.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed in principle on a trade that will send All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Cavs for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported Thursday morning.

The report says the Cavs have a "firm agreement" that Love will opt out of his contract and sign a five-year, $120 million deal with the Cavs next summer. There had been speculation that Love might want to cash in during his free-agent year when salaries are expected to rise dramatically under a new television deal. There were also questions about the length of Love's commitment because LeBron James is signed only for two years and can opt out next summer.

The trade cannot be announced until Aug. 23, one month after Wiggins signed his rookie contract. Wiggins, a guard from Kansas, was the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. The St. Paul Pioneer Press recently quoted Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor saying a Love trade was "likely" by Aug. 23 or 24. Bennett was the Cavs' first-round choice in 2013.

In recent days, the Cavs had emerged as the front-runner to land Love because Wiggins has the most potential of the players the Timberwolves were being offered.

Love pulled out of his obligations with USA Basketball last week.

The agreement with the Timberwolves for Love, along with the return of James, the $90 million max contract signed by Kyrie Irving and the addition of Miller and Jones fulfill Griffin's prophecy of a "monumental" offseason. Griffin uttered that word at the June 27 news conference introducing Wiggins.

"It's funny when I said monumental it was a complete slip-up and now I'm really grateful that I said that, I look like a visionary," Griffin said Wednesday.

Griffin called James "the best recruiter you could possibly have."

The Cavs could still sign Shawn Marion or Ray Allen, but those would have to be veteran minimum contracts because of the team's lack of salary cap room.

Although the Cavs cannot confirm the agreement, per league rules, Griffin said during the introductory press conference for Miller and Jones Wednesday that the roster for this season was probably not finalized.

"James 1/8Jones3/8 talked about how important it is to try to win with the right kind of people. We're going to continue to surround ourselves with those types of people," Griffin said. "I don't know at any point that we're going to say we're done or that the roster's complete. You're always trying to get better and everybody's always looking for an edge. We're happy with where we are and we're going to try to build to a more complete roster, if there is such a thing."

Wiggins discussed his uncertain future on Sunday in Tarrytown, N.Y., when he was taking part in a trading card photo shoot.

"I just want to play for a team that wants me," Wiggins told ESPN.

James will speak to the media Friday for the first time since he announced his return to the Cavs in a July 11 essay on SI.com. That will come during a "Welcome Home LeBron" event at the University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium.

Many Cavs fans were torn about giving up the athletic Wiggins, who dazzled during Summer League play in Las Vegas, but Love is considered by NBA analysts as a perfect fit for the Cavs. The fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Love is 25 and a three-time All-Star. In six seasons with the Timberwolves, he averaged 19.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, shot 45.1 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from 3-point range.

"There's absolutely not one second of hesitancy. I'd trade for Kevin Love," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told John Feinstein on CBS Sports Radio last month. Krzyzewski is also the coach of USA Basketball. "There aren't many double-double guys who can spread the floor; he can go inside and outside. There may be a low post player that gets you a double-double, but Love, you can do a lot of different things with him ...

"You look at LeBron, and you have the best player in the world. He's 29, I'm not saying he's at the end of his career, but he's in the second-half of his career. And in the first half of his career he was becoming a great player. It took time. Just like with Andrew Wiggins, it takes time. LeBron is a great player right now, you do not want to waste any year of a great player's career. Love is close to being that. He's not as great a player as LeBron, but he's there."

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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