Mike Krzyzewski would trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love with “not one second of hesitancy”

83 Comments

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski knows Andrew Wiggins, his Blue Devils faced off against Wiggins’ Jayhawks this past season. Krzyzewski also knows Kevin Love, who has been part of the Team USA program and will be again this summer when USA Basketball opens training camp in Las Vegas.

So would Coach K trade the promise of Wiggins for Love?

Damn straight he would.

That’s what he told John Feinstein on CBS Sports radio (as transcribed by Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball).

“There’s absolutely not one second of hesitancy. I’d trade for Kevin Love,” Coach K said. “That’s not saying anything bad about any of the other youngsters. Love’s an All-Star and he’s a double-double guy. But he’s a double-double guy who can spread the court. 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….

“I’ve coached him on two teams, and no pun intended, I love Kevin Love,” he said. “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. You know who Love is right now.”

This has always been the key argument for the pro-Love camp — Love is an elite player right now and plays a position who would complement LeBron James’ game. With LeBron on board Cleveland is a win-now team and Love helps you do that.

There have been mixed reports about whether Wiggins has even been offered up for Love in a trade. The latest report via the News Herald is that he has not been, although not formally being offered and discussions taking place are different things. Also, how much are LeBron and his core group pushing for a Love deal and how much is the rest of the Cavaliers front office pushing back?

How does Wiggins feel about 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 told PBT Friday night in Las Vegas at Summer League, adding he is not worried about the rumors. “No. I just play basketball man wherever I go.”

One other note here: The Cavaliers would be foolish to give up Wiggins and not demand from Love that he opt-in to the final year of his deal. This is what Chris Paul did for the Clippers. If Wiggins is now or will be in play, that’s a massive asset to give up and they need some assurance he is not going to go Dwight Howard and bolt after one season. Yes, Love’s people have said he would like to play with LeBron and would re-sign, but then Howard’s people said he was likely to re-sign at the start of that Lakers season. Things can change. If Love will not opt in for Cleveland or anyone (because he wants to be a free agent and be recruited) he dramatically lowers what teams will over for him. And if you are Minnesota, the bad offers will be there in February at the trade deadline, no reason for Flip Saunders to rush.

Thunder’s Enes Kanter: ‘I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship’

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
1 Comment

When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter jumped fully on board the pro-Russell Westbrook, anti-Durant bandwagon.

That ride doesn’t stop with his former teammate facing the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Kanter, via Fox Sports Radio:

I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship.

Kanter never misses an opportunity to take a shot at the Warriors – except when Zaza Pachulia laid out Westbrook and stood over him.

Dwane Casey: Masai Ujiri assured me I’ll return as Raptors coach

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Galit Rodan
Leave a comment

Raptors president Masai Ujiri didn’t mince words at his season-ending press conference: Toronto’s playing style had become unacceptable.

It sounded as if he might have been planting the seed for firing Dwane Casey.

But the coach says Ujiri assured him he’d return next season.

Casey on TSN (hat tip: Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic):

I think people mistook Masai’s comments for that. We had a good meeting before that meeting, and we’ve had meeting since then – with all the coaches – as far as plans for next year and the culture reset, which I think every corporation and every team should do periodically to get the culture back in focus and that type of thing. It’s not like we’re in total chaos or anything like that. It’s just good to have roles defined, things we can do better in each of our roles.

We’re doing some good things and some things we can do much better with. And that’s what we’ll plan on doing this summer and also this fall, when we go to training camp.

The Raptors’ offensive rating has dropped from regular season to the playoffs by 8.5, 7.2 and 11.7 the last three years. Their isolation-heavy style is just easier to stop when defenses see it in consecutive games.

The big question: What does Toronto do about that?

It’d be difficult to move on from the two players most responsible for the style, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan is signed long-term, and if the Raptors don’t re-sign Lowry, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, they won’t have the cap space to land a comparable replacement.

The best bet is probably changing schemes from the bench and hoping the players can adjust – and maybe Casey can handle that responsibility. Hiring a new coach obviously would been the clearest path to a shake up, but maybe Casey can evolve. I’d want to see a plan from him before committing to keeping him, but maybe Ujiri got that.

Casey has played a key role in Toronto’s improvement, it’s nice to give him an opportunity to coach differently before hiring a different coach.

Kevin Durant: Don’t blame me for Nets, Magic and other teams stinking

AP Photo/Adam Hunger
3 Comments

For the first time in NBA history, the NBA Finals will feature the same matchup for three straight years.

Among those responsible: Kevin Durant, who sunk the title-contending Thunder and gave the Warriors an even stronger grip on the Western Conference.

But don’t blame him for a lack of parity league-wide.

Durant, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“Like I’m the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good (laughs). I can’t play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It’s one more team that you probably would’ve thought would’ve been a contender. One more team. I couldn’t have made the (entire) East better. I couldn’t have made everybody (else) in the West better.”

Some teams will always be better than others. The Magic, Nets and more were mis-managed before Durant left Oklahoma City.

But I’m not even sure this is the right debate.

Does the NBA even have a parity problem to blame on Durant?

Cleveland and Golden State aren’t traditional powers. Before 2015, the Warriors hadn’t won a title since 1975 and the Cavaliers had never won one. Their ascension is proof of parity – that sound management and a little luck can lift teams from the basement.

Report: Clippers take Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor ‘very seriously’

2 Comments

Want to laugh off that Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor?

The Clippers aren’t joining you.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Clippers should be concerned. Losing Paul would unravel their entire foundation, dropping them from the fringe of championship contention to out of the title picture completely. It could even help usher out Blake Griffin, who will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer. (To be fair, Paul leaving could also help convince Griffin to stay.)

About a month ago, the Clippers reportedly expected Paul to stay. They even reportedly struck a verbal agreement with him to re-sign before that. But they can’t officially sign him until July, and that leaves the door open for him to leave.

The Clippers should be heartened by their advantages – a prime market and a projected max offer of $205 million over five years.

The most another team projects to be able to offer is $152 million over four years, and San Antonio will have a hard time doing that. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to shed two of those players to clear max cap space.

So, never say never, but the Clippers’ concern might be rooted more in the dire consequences of Paul leaving rather than the likelihood of it.