Kevin Love

It’s done: Kevin Love traded to Cavaliers, Andrew Wiggins headed to Minnesota in three-team deal

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We’ve known this was coming, now the waiting is over.

It didn’t take long on the first day Andrew Wiggins could be traded for the deal to go down — he is headed to Minnesota as part of a three-team trade that forms a super team in Cleveland with Kevin Love joining LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the particulars:

Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia have completed NBA trade call, source tells Yahoo. Kevin Love has joined LeBron James with the Cavs.

Minnesota’s Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and Miami’s 2015 first-round pick remains the package to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young.

With permission of Wolves and NBA, Dan Gilbert and Kevin Love met in Las Vegas during July summer league, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

That’s how long this has been in the works.

Here’s how the trade breaks down:

Cleveland gets: Kevin Love

Minnesota gets: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, a trade exception

Philadelphia gets: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, a 2015 first round pick (Miami’s, top 10 protected).

The obvious winner here is Cleveland, they become an instant title contender. They need to re-sign Love next summer, but it’s hard to see him bolting. It is a lot of new pieces to fit together for coach David Blatt — who is an NBA rookie, but has decades of experience as the head man overseas with great success. And in the case of Love and Irving, neither has a moment of playoff experience. Still, with the additions of Mike Miller and Shawn Marion to go with some solid young players like Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, the only questions  seem to be ones of exactly when the Cavs can get it together, and whether it will be in time to win them a title in their very first season.

Minnesota does pretty well for itself, about as well as can be expected when being forced to trade a superstar. Sure, it’s rebuilding, but the hardest part of rebuilding is getting the elite star player and Minnesota may have that in Wiggins. Maybe he doesn’t pan out to be super-elite, but he’ll be a quality NBA player to build with and to pair with a young core of Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger, and now Young. That’s not a playoff team in the West, but it’s not bad and has a lot of room for potential.

Philadelphia continues its plan of not being good now, but having a lot of picks that could turn into talent that’s NBA-ready in the not-too-distant future. Because the Sixers are in an admitted start-from-scratch rebuild, don’t be shocked if Mbah a Moute and/or Shved get flipped again down the line. As for the pick, they likely get to use it next year because while Miami took a step backward after losing LeBron in free agency, the Heat are still probably a playoff team in the East, and not at all likely to finish the season as one of the league’s bottom 10 teams.

Russell Westbrook’s no-look, two-hand, behind-his-head pass ignites Thunder break

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Russell Westbrook was just himself — hustling, attacking, and getting his fifth triple-double in a row Sunday night against the Pelicans.

But the play of the night didn’t get him any points or an assist. It was Westbrook hustling, getting to the floor to get a loose ball, then making the showtime pass to start a Globetrotters-like fast break that ended with an Andre Roberson dunk.

Westbrook had an impressive dunk of his own.

NBA VP Kiki VanDeWeghe on “unnaturual acts:” “Our rules are for every player”

draymond green
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The NBA has tried to crack down on “unnatural acts” — players flailing body parts trying to draw a foul call.

At the heart of that is Golden State’s Draymond Green, who picked up a flagrant foul for the unnatural act of getting his leg high enough to kick James Harden in the face Thursday night. Green fired back at the league, saying in part, “It’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements.” Green’s argument is that he was fouled in the air and the high leg was the natural act of him trying to keep his balance. (Doesn’t matter, it’s a reckless act and if you kick someone in the face you should get a flagrant foul. Also, try explaining the kick on Marquese Chriss on Saturday that way.)

Former All-Star NBA player as well as coach Kiki VanDeWeghe is now an NBA vice president and the guy who is the decision maker on these reviews and fouls. He spoke with Sam Amick of the USA Today about how those unnatural act rules are applied.

“Our rules are for every player,” VanDeWeghe told USA TODAY Sports. “We want each play judged according to the rules, as best possible, and the rules applied fairly across our whole league. That’s very important to us. We don’t make exceptions for players. They are applied to everybody.

“In Draymond’s particular case (against the Houston Rockets on Thursday), he had an arm flail which struck the player (James Harden) in the neck-head area. And then in addition to that, he had a kick up above the head of the defender. As he brought his leg down, his heel hit him in the face. It wouldn’t matter what player we’re talking about (it’s a foul)….

“Most of these are done to draw the attention of the referees. We noticed an uptick in these last year, and they needed to be addressed by the competition committee.”

While Green feels singled out — “marked” is what he tweeted — VanDeWeghe noted that competition committee included owners, coaches, GMs, people from the players union, and a lot of people with playing experience, who all sat down as a group and studied what is and is not an “unnatural act.” As Amick noted, it isn’t just Green who gets hit with these penalties, although he gets the headlines: Boston’s Marcus Smart was given a Flagrant One for his kick to the groin of the Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; Thursday LeBron James was given a technical foul for his blow to the head of the Clippers’ Alan Anderson.

So long as Green continues to make these acts — and the kick to Chriss Saturday suggests they are not slowing down — the crackdown will continue.

Watch Raptors PG Kyle Lowry throw a full-court alley oop to Pascal Siakam

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Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry is having an excellent year for the Eastern Conference Finals hopefuls, and part of that is due to his vision. On Saturday, Lowry threw a full-court lob to Pascal Siakam that was mighty impressive.

After a missed shot in the middle of the third quarter by the Atlanta Hawks, Lowry gathered the rebound on the left block and quickly turned his eyes downcourt.

Siakam, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was streaking toward the Raptors basket and behind the Hawks defense.

Lowry took advantage with a long-distance heave after one dribble at the free-throw line, and Pascal was able to gather and softly lay the ball up at the rim.

Warriors F Draymond Green kicks Marquese Chriss in the hand (VIDEO)

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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was not punished with an additional fine for kicking Houston Rockets G James Harden in the face on Dec. 1. Perhaps that emboldened him to kick another opponent just two days later in Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss.

While attempting a rip through move on Chriss in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game, Green could be seen kicking Chriss in the hand.

Chriss, in some obvious pain, immediately ran over to the bench and was replaced by Jared Dudley.

Meanwhile, Green didn’t even draw a foul. On the other end of the floor, P.J. Tucker was trying to fight through a screen and was called for both a personal foul and a technical foul after arguing.

It seems that there’s not much stopping Green from trying to damage opponents. He infamously missed Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals due to his extracurricular activity, his absence perhaps acting as the catalyst to swing a series in which the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There was no fine for kicking the league’s best MVP candidate in Harden, and no reaction from officials for kicking Chriss.

This came just a day after Green complained about how the league was treating him and how he should control his body.

In the last six months, Green has hit or kicked Harden, Chriss, Kyrie Irving, Allen Crabbe, and Steven Adams (twice).