Ever since the Cavaliers signed LeBron James, Kevin Love and Cleveland have been dancing around each other.
The Cavaliers want the Timberwolves star, and he’s interested in joining LeBron in Cleveland.
But No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins – who has gotten off to a strong start in summer league – appeared to be the line in the sand. Cavaliers coach David Blatt even said Wiggins wouldn’t be traded, though Wiggins was clearly Minnesota’s most-desired asset.
Cleveland’s stance appears to be weakening.
Bob Finnan of The News-Herald:
A league source said on July 17 that the Cavs are now willing to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
However, a source said James wants the 6-10, 250-pound Love on the roster.
While the Warriors are dithering over Klay Thompson, Wiggins offers much more value than Minnesota ever could have reasonably anticipated for a player who can become a free agent in a year. Not only is Wiggins’ upside immense, he hasn’t even begun his four-year rookie contract. After that, he’ll be a restricted free agent. There is so much more time to rebuild around him than Thompson, who’s eligible for an extension and wants a big one.
This would be a tougher deal for the Cavaliers to swallow. Wiggins is a supreme talent, and his cheap contract leaves more leeway to add other contributors. Love would have to opt in to the final season of his contract, 2015-16, to make this deal palatable. That would not only give Cleveland another year of security, it would signal Love’s desire to remain there.
The Cavaliers can win a championship next season. This is the time to sacrifice the future for the present. If Wiggins winds up as good as Love, that would be great for Wiggins. Cleveland should get Love now and overlap his prime with LeBron’s rather than letting LeBron and the rawer Wiggins have a smaller window of elite play together.
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This news might mean the the trade gets completed soon. The Timberwolves have been waiting for an offer that knocks their socks off. This should be it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Derrick Williams to a second 10-day contract.
The NBA champions have been impressed with Williams, a former No. 2 overall pick, and it’s likely they will sign him for the remainder of the season when his current contract expires. The Cavs announced Wednesday they signed Williams again. He has averaged 9.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Cavs, who have been bringing him off their bench with their second unit.
Before signing as a free agent with Cleveland on Feb. 9, Williams played for Miami this season before being released.
The Cavs returned from the All-Star break Wednesday and will practice before hosting the New York Knicks on Thursday, just a few hours after the trade deadline.
The Hornets are essentially two different teams with and without Cody Zeller.
They’re 22-17 when he plays and 2-15 when he doesn’t. They play at a 62-win pace with him on the floor and a 29-win pace when he sits.
So, with Zeller banged up, Charlotte traded for Miles Plumee. But Plumlee hasn’t provided much, just 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in five contests.
And now he’ll add even less.
The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Miles Plumlee underwent a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), which revealed a second-degree calf strain in his right leg. Plumlee will be out for Charlotte’s game tomorrow at Detroit and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
The Hornets incurred significant long-term costs ($37.5 million over the next three years) to use Plumlee as a short-term bandage. Without him providing even that, this situation looks bleak.
Depending on Zeller’s health, this could turn Charlotte — 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position — into sellers before the trade deadline. At minimum, it makes the Hornets less likely to buy.
The Bulls reportedly reached out to the 76ers about Jahlil Okafor a few weeks ago.
After unfulfilled intrigue and maybe a trade that fell through, Okafor remains in Philadelphia. And Chicago apparently still wants him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
As constituted, the Bulls already have a few interior bigs: Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Cristiano Felicio. But one or more could go in an Okafor trade or another deal.
Okafor would make the Chicago younger, confusing its direction with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade already in place.
Perhaps, the Bulls are pushing for a trade only because they’re offering so little. Okafor’s low-post game offers intrigue. At the right price, he’d be worth adding, no matter the fit and direction presented.
Maybe the 76ers don’t go for a lowball offer, but that’d be worth trying considering their center logjam with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Otherwise, Chicago ought to tread carefully when pursuing Okafor.
The 76ers have played like a 64-win team when Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova share the court and a 20-win team otherwise, using data from nbawowy!.
That’s helpful for Philadelphia, which is learning what type of player — a stretch four — works best with its franchise player.
But the Hawks can use more than just a lesson in the idea of Ersan Ilyasova. They can use actual Ersan Ilyasova.
And Atlanta will get him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:
Atlanta stills sound intent on keeping Paul Millsap, so Ilyasova will likely back him up. Ilyasova should work particularly well with Dwight Howard, whose interior play was a key factor in ushering in this stretch-four era by covering for the lighter power forward next to him.
In the last 21 months, Ilyasova has been traded five times: from the Bucks to the Pistons to the Magic to the Thunder to the 76ers and now to the Hawks. They can probably count on the veteran to settle in quickly as they try to improve their position in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Atlanta is fifth, closer to third than sixth.
Both Ilyasova and Splitter have expiring contracts. The advantage of Splitter, who has missed the Hawks’ last 90 games, is that his full compensation counts toward the floor apparently without Philadelphia actually having to play all of his salary.
Plus, those picks could help the 76ers in a season where they can win something meaningful — like the Hawks have decided this season is for them.