Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins says he hasn’t been told anything by Cavaliers, he’s not worried about rumors


LAS VEGAS — The rumors have been swirling and conflicting — either Andrew Wiggins has been offered to Minnesota in a trade for Kevin Love, or he hasn’t been put in any deals. LeBron James apparently has called Love up and pitched coming to Cleveland to the All-Star power forward.

Andrew Wiggins said he’s just trying to keep his head down, below the radar on all this.

“I let my agent and my support system handle that, I just love playing the game of basketball and I know the NBA is a business,” Wiggins said Friday night after his Cavaliers had played their last game in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Is all of this distracting, especially with family and friends asking him about it?

“Not at all,” Wiggins said. “If it’s someone important, family or friends, you kind of tell them what you know. But if it’s not, it’s mostly in one ear and out the other.”

But is he worried?

“No. I just play basketball man wherever I go.”

He added that the Cavaliers have not told him personally anything.

“I just know what you know, I just see what you see on TV,” Wiggins said.

Of course, Wiggins would love to play next to LeBron, but they haven’t spoken — Wiggins said he’s been busy, LeBron has been busy and he has not tried to reach out to him.

“It would be great for me,” Wiggins said of playing next to LeBron. “I could really learn and pick his brain, and see what it takes to get to his level.”

Wiggins said he is excited about the idea of LeBron returning to Cleveland.

“It’s been crazy, but it’s all positive stuff you know,” Wiggins said. “LeBron comes back, nothing negative about that at all, best player in the world coming to your team, it’s just a great feeling, the organization is on the rise right now.”

Wiggins did not play in the Cavaliers’ final Summer League game with the team saying he had put in a lot of work and they had seen enough of him over the course of the Las Vegas Summer League. They also sat Anthony Bennett for this final game.

“I showed people how quickly my skill set has developed and transitioned to the NBA, and how the NBA operates,” Wiggins said. “You know, more one-on-one stuff in space, and that’s where I showed my growth…

“It’s been a great experience getting to play against great talent, loving the chemistry of the team and getting to know my teammates… getting a feel for the coach, him getting a feel for me and how we operate on the court.”

The Cavaliers were happy with what they saw, with Cleveland coach David Blatt saying he liked how coachable Wiggins was.

“I was looking at Wig’s performances,” Cavaliers said. “Guy was in double figures every game, he rebounded, he defended, he went to the foul line, he played with intensity on both ends of the court. I thought for a rookie, for a guy with a lot on his shoulders as the first pick in the draft, for a 19 year old, I thought he played extremely well. We’re real happy with what he did.”

The question remains will this Summer League be the only time Wiggins puts on a Cavaliers uniform?

51Q: Does Ty Lawson vault the Rockets into the top tier of championship contenders?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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I see five clear upper-echelon championship contenders –  Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Cavaliers.

Do the Rockets belong in that group, or do they fill the next tier by themselves?

Ty Lawson – acquired for pennies on the dollar – could put Houston over the top.

But, really, this premise might not be fair to the Rockets. They earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season and reached the conference finals last season. James Harden finished second in MVP voting. Dwight Howard looked like a star during the playoffs. The supporting cast – Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer and even Jason Terry – played better than anyone expected. Young players like Clint Capela, K.J. McDaniels, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell could make a leap at any moment.

There’s a case to be made we should have taken Houston more seriously even before trading for Lawson.

I didn’t, though, and I don’t think many others did either.

I suspect one of the biggest reasons is the Rockets’ balance. Houston – 12th in points scored per possession, sixth in points allowed per possession – was one of only two teams to win more than 51 games last season without ranking top five in either category. Of the seven teams with so many victories, the Hawks – sixth, seventh – were the only other. Atlanta was a darling team, winning 60 games after going 38-44 the season prior. The Rockets’ modest win increase, from 54 to 56, drew less attention.

But balance shouldn’t be punished. Houston’s surprisingly strong defense should be celebrated. Lawson might push its middling offense over the top.

There are reasons to question that, though.

The biggest is Lawson’s sobriety. If he’s not focused and engaged, this all goes out the window. His comments about going to rehab only because it was court-ordered raise doubts, though they hardly foretell anything.

Let’s say Lawson’s off-court problems are behind him. How big of an upgrade is he? The Rockets already had a pretty good point guard who fit well with Harden in Beverley. Lawson is a clear offensive upgrade, but in the biggest moments, the ball will still run through Harden. At that point, would you rather have Beverley or Lawson on the floor? Beverley is a far superior defender, and his off-ball offensive game isn’t far from Lawson’s. Beverley is is a fine spot-up shooter, and Lawson’s strengths involve having the ball and creating. Lawson’s biggest boost could come when Harden sits, but that was fewer than 12 minutes per game last season.

Sure, a secondary ball-handler could ease pressure on Harden throughout a long regular season. Lawson and Harden can take turns running the attack.

But we’re talking about title contention, and in those high-leverage situations, it’s Harden’s show. How much does Lawson matter then?

The Rockets have a chance to win a championship. As good a chance as the NBA’s five best teams? I’m not so sure.

UNLV following Kentucky’s lead with combine for NBA scouts

Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw
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Kentucky held a two-day combine last season for NBA scouts.

Now, LSU and UNLV are following suit.

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports:

The Runnin’ Rebels will hold their event on October 23rd and 24th at the Mendenhall Center, UNLV’s practice facility, sources told The expectation is that all 30 NBA teams will be in attendance.

LSU has potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and another first-round prospect in Tim Quarterman.

UNLV features lottery prospect Stephen Zimmerman.

This won’t replace scouts attending games and watching practices, but the fact that all 30 teams plan to attend shows how seriously the pro league takes these. No college team wanted John Calipari to have that competitive advantage in recruiting, so the smart ones are leveling the field with their own combines. Soon, more college teams will follow.

As the calendar gets packed, NBA teams might have to pick and choose which they attend. At that point, we might get little clues about which prospects they’re scouting hardest.