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.

Report: Kings plan to fire George Karl in coming days

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings stands on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on January 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.

Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:

The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.

The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:

Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:

That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.

Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 09:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 9, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin:

Kobe Bryant throws down old-man breakaway dunk (VIDEO)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 8:  Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers defends against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 8, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Once upon a time, Kobe Bryant was one of the best in-game dunkers in basketball. Age and injuries have sapped him of his explosiveness, which makes it rare these days that he dunks at all. On his final trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers fans got a special treat of sorts, even if it was nothing like what we’ve seen from Kobe over the past two decades.

NBA local television ratings up, led by spike in Warriors viewship

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 30: Klay Thompson #11, Draymond Green #23, Harrison Barnes #40, Shaun Livingston #34 and Stephen Curry #30 high five one another in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 30, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Everyone wants to watch Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Local television ratings for Warriors games on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area have spiked 120 percent since last season, according to data compiled by the Sports Business Journal. An estimated 209,000 people tune in to CSN Bay Area for the games (plus the numbers of subscribers streaming Warriors’ games through CSNBayArea.com also has spiked this season).

It’s all part of an overall upward trend in ratings for the league, although about half the league’s markets have seen ratings fall.

Overall, as the NBA enters its All-Star break this weekend, the league’s local telecasts are up 6 percent year over year, according to Nielsen. Eleven teams have seen gains in their local ratings this season, while 15 have dropped. Denver Nuggets games on Altitude are flat with last year….

Golden State’s average rating is high enough to rank third in the NBA, an impressive achievement for a big-market team. Three of the top four teams as measured by ratings play in small markets: Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Additionally, with a league-best 209,000 households on average watching Warriors games locally this season, Golden State is far outpacing the New York Knicks for their games on MSG (160,000 households) and the Cleveland Cavaliers for their games on FS Ohio (141,000).

Interestingly, ratings for the Lakers are down 16 percent year-over-year, despite this being Kobe Bryant‘s final season, according to the report. That impacts the Lakers in that their massive cable television deal with Time Warner does have ratings ties — the Lakers could get a little less out of this deal than anticipated. Still, the average Lakers’ broadcast draws 92,000 viewers, fifth largest in the league.

LeBron has Cavaliers ratings up 36 percent over a year ago. The three biggest drops in ratings percentage wise are Atlanta (33 percent), New Orleans (33 percent), and Washington (34 percent). The average Pelicans game draws 7,000 viewers, according to the report.

That discrepancy in local television viewership — and the money that affords teams in local television deals — you can be sure is something the owners will fight about more in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions. There already is some sharing of that revenue, but as the gap grows you can expect a push from smaller markets to grow that sharing model (the only time rich owners suddenly want socialism in their lives). Expect the players’ union to bring it up as well when the owners cry poverty.