Tag: Nikola Pekovic

Andrew Wiggins

Timberwolves set record for ticket sales after trading Kevin Love to Cavaliers


The Timberwolves traded their best player and face of the franchise to the Cavaliers, and fans couldn’t be more excited about their prospects for the upcoming season.

Wait, what?

It’s true. Kevin Love may be gone, but the haul that Minnesota received in return — which included the last two number one overall picts in the draft, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett — has sparked a renewed level of local interest.

From Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press:

After completing the long-rumored trade that sent Love to the Cavaliers and brought Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young to Minnesota, the Timberwolves have sold more than 300 full season-ticket packages in the last week.

That beats the previous record in 2011 that was set when Ricky Rubio announced that he was coming over from Spain to play for the team.

“The organization, from president-level on down has just been re-energized,” Timberwolves senior vice president and chief revenue officer Ryan Tanke said. “Part of it is hope, and you have this great new hope.

“But then there’s also the reality, which is it was a long, tough summer. For it to come to the head that it came to and have it be the outcome that we had, I think it creates this perfect storm environment for us.”

In some ways, this new beginning in Minnesota is more interesting than if the team had simply proceeded with the status quo.

Free agents don’t come willingly to a team like the Timberwolves, who play in a small market and deal with atrocious winter weather that is among the country’s worst. The only way to get an influx of top talent for a franchise in this situation is to land it through the draft or in trade, and while legitimate players like Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and now Thad Young are in place, the young talent around them, which includes Zach LaVine, should help make for a very entertaining roster.

It’s an exciting time, despite the loss of Love. And fans are signing up to pay to see how it develops in record numbers.

Thad Young on Sixers rebuild: ‘They were getting rid of everybody and getting worse’

Thaddeus Young

The Sixers traded their last remaining skilled veteran this summer, when they jumped into the Kevin Love trade between the Timberwolves and Cavaliers to send Thaddeus Young to Minnesota, while taking on lesser players and obtaining a future first round draft pick for their willing participation.

It’s a strategy that Philadelphia has been comfortable with under GM Sam Hinkie — get rid of everyone who won’t be a part of the team’s long-term future, in order to draft young talent with the hopes of landing a superstar or two that the team can use to build around as a franchise cornerstone for years to come.

The Timberwolves are rebuilding now, too, following the Love deal to the Cavaliers. But they’re going about it very differently, and Young was able to articulate that quite succinctly.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via HoopsHype):

Q: You were part of a pretty extensive rebuilding project in Philadelphia. They’re rebuilding in Minnesota, too, but does it feel different from what you were coming from?

A: It does. I think the situation in Philly is much different. It’s the same process, but this team is much more competitive and it’s a better roster. Philly, they were getting rid of everybody and getting worse. But I think [Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie] is doing a great job and has made some big moves.

In other words, Minnesota isn’t out there trying to lose.

The Timberwolves have pieces like Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and now Young, along with the last two number one overall picks in the draft in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. To fans, that’s a far more palatable way of trying to rebuild, in that there’s at least a reasonable chance of competing most nights, with an outside shot that things come together more quickly than expected.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has chosen to go after only the youngest of talent, and take its time developing it. The losses are sure to pile up as that’s happening, but that will only give the Sixers better odds of landing a top draft pick the following season — which only continues to feed this cycle, further helping the team’s strategy for the future.

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

Kevin Love

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: Timberwolves to end up with Thad Young, Anthony Bennett as part of Kevin Love trade

Kevin Love

The trade of Kevin Love from Minnesota to Cleveland will be eligible to be completed this weekend, once 30 days have passed since Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract with the Cavaliers.

There are plenty of additional moving parts, but they appear to be coming into focus. And the Timberwolves are expected to get quite a haul in return for their franchise player.

There were earlier reports that had Minnesota sending Anthony Bennett to the Sixers in order to get Thaddeus Young, but that doesn’t seem at all likely at this stage of the proceedings.

Wiggins, Bennett, and Young would be an excellent return for Love, and along with Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and incoming rookie Zach Lavine would make for an extremely watchable young roster.

Minnesota undoubtedly needs to rebuild a bit after losing a player of Love’s caliber, but getting the last two number one overall picks in the draft in exchange isn’t at all a bad place to start. Combine that with Young’s experience and his level of production, and with the players already in place you have an exciting core that could potentially begin to string together victories sooner than expected.

Andrew Wiggins on trade for Kevin Love: “Whatever happens is out of my control”

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Andrew Wiggins knows what is coming. And for a rookie he has done a very good job of staying on message.

“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 to a handful of media members including PBT in Las Vegas for the final days of NBA Summer League.

Back then the deal was still in the negotiations/rumor phase, now it is agreed to — Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round pick for Kevin Love — and the two sides (plus the Philadelphia 76ers, moving Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for Anthony Bennett) are just waiting for Wiggins 30-day moratorium after signing his rookie deal to be up Aug. 23.

He’s still saying basically the same things now, according to the Associated Press.

“Whatever happens is out of my control,” he said. “I’m not worrying about it right now.”

Surrounded by more than a dozen reporters and nine television cameras at a promotional event at his former grade school in suburban Toronto, Wiggins acknowledged that life as a first overall pick has brought him extra attention.

“There’s more eyes on me, more criticizing, stuff like that,” he said.

What else is he going to say? He’s handled this entire situation as gracefully as one could.

Wiggins is going from playing for a potential contender to a rebuilding team in Minnesota — one with some nice young talent in himself, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger, Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic. Still, that is a team with a lot of growing and building still to do. And Wiggins just keeps saying the right things about just wanting to play basketball.

On the bright side, being from Toronto, the Minneapolis winters shouldn’t be a shock to the system.