Waiting for Wiggins: Day 16 of 30

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You’ve probably heard the news: the Wolves  reportedly have a deal in place that will  send All-Star  forward  Kevin Love  to the  Cleveland  Cavaliers for  this year’s number  one overall pick Andrew  Wiggins, LAST YEAR’S number  one overall pick Anthony Bennett, and a future first-round pick.

As usual, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski  broke the story ahead of time. Woj has become  a mythical figure  for his ability to  break *every* NBA  story before anyone else. I mean, literally, every story. The “Woj Bomb” is now a trope on NBA Twitter, inspiring clever plays on words and witty tweets that are often structured along the lines of “If a Woj Bomb confirms X rumor, I will perform Y outrageous act!”

The difference this time is that Woj, in the way only Woj could, confirmed the biggest trade since the Thunder traded James Harden to the Rockets more than TWO WEEKS before it can legally happen. In a league in which trades involving superstars in their prime and trades involving number one overall picks are both rare, the rarity of such deals gave pause both to hordes of Cavaliers and Wolves fans.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 15 of 30

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I’m laughing out loud, reading this story out of Toronto.

Link here.

Hat tip to William Bohl for tweeting that link, last night.

Before the dust has been able to settle on Woj’s bomb yesterday — the one reporting the details of the Love-for-Wiggins/Bennett trade, agreed to in principle — this writer out of Toronto has already jumped ahead to the day that Andrew Wiggins will apparently force his way out of Minnesota so that he can return home… to Toronto!

It’s the tone of it that is so great though. Just completely smug, taking shot after shot at Minneapolis as a city and the Timberwolves as an organization.

Again, from a Toronto Raptors fan. While the Wolves lost young Starbury and are about to trade away Kevin Love, the Raptors… well, the Raptors lost Vince Carter in his prime in the most overt, get-me-the-fuck-outta-here display by an NBA star in recent history. They lost young Tracy McGrady. They lost Chris Bosh. Perhaps it is precisely the psychological damage from that history that frames the writer’s reference for that nonsensical piece of trash.

In any event, give it a read if you’re in need of a good laugh.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 14 of 30

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by | August 7, 2014 · 8:36 AM

Waiting for Wiggins: Day 13 of 30

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Cleveland, then Miami, always LeBron James reporter Brian Windhorst was on the BS Report podcast yesterday, with Bill Simmons.

Link: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/b-s-report-brian-windhorst-plus-a-transcript-of-brian-and-bill-on-a-possible-midseason-nba-tournament/

At about the 25-minute mark, Windhorst digs into (well, strongly hints at) the Kevin Love-to-Cleveland process and timeline.

Give the full pod a listen when you get a chance.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 12 of 30

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As the reports of a Love-for-Wiggins trade framework continue to flood in, we are beginning to learn more about the rumored details on the fringe of the deal.

Specifically, it was being floated by local beat reporters yesterday that the Timberwolves would prefer to end up with Thaddeous Young of the 76ers, rather than Anthony Bennett of the Cavaliers.

I’d rather have Bennett, for a few different reasons.

First, Bennett has the potential to become a star offensive player; the type of combo forward that draws double teams and makes life easier for his teammates. Getting him early on his rookie scale contract is more valuable to a rebuilding team than adding a solid, established veteran like Young.

Second, Andrew Wiggins might become a bust — or at least something below a star-level player. If you agree with me that Bennett has some potential to hit that star level — and I realize many do not — then perhaps you agree that you’d rather take more than one “home run” swing in this trade. There is some chance that Bennett becomes a star and Wiggins does not. There is also some chance that BOTH become stars. (And in ways that complement each other! And Canada!) I’d rather see the Wolves thinking that way, with this trade.

Third, if the Wolves acquire Young, then he is presumably the starting power forward, and Gorgui Dieng remains a bench player. That is not the worst thing in the world — especially since Dieng’s best long-term position is center. But considering that Young shares Gorgui’s biggest offensive flaw — perimeter shooting — I don’t really see much benefit in limiting the young player’s reps in the interest of competing harder to win with a veteran like Young.

Fourth, and finally, I don’t think adding Young to the rest of this roster moves the needle in a meaningful way. I don’t think the Wolves are going to be good next year, after a Wiggins trade. I also don’t think the Wolves are going to be terrible next year, after a Wiggins trade. I think they’ll be staring at something like 28 to 32 wins. After adding Thad Young, I guess I’d bet on the high end of that range, but not much more. I think Rubio, Pekovic, Brewer, Budinger, and the rest of the remaining roster are good enough to prevent an all-out tank-fest. And I don’t think Young is the guy to carry a 40+-win team in the West on his back. He does not space the floor in a way that might mesh well with Rubio. I dunno, getting back to points 1 and 2, I just think it makes more sense to take another big swing than to convince yourself that one or two seasons of Thad Young will have a lasting positive effect.

Then again, if Flip pulls off the Wiggins thing, perhaps we will have to cut him some slack on the details:

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 11 of 30

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Today is the eleventh day of Waiting for Wiggins, and if Adam Silver is paying any attention at all to this ongoing storyline, it should be the last one.

The commish, who already showed off his executive-power chops in dealing with Donald Sterling, should allow an exception to the “30 Days” rule that is holding up the Andrew Wiggins-for-Kevin Love trade. The only reason to passively enforce the rule, as he has been doing, is that creating exceptions to collectively bargained rules creates a precedent. On more important matters — ones that the players association care about — that is a big problem.

But here’s the thing about this Wiggins deal:

I don’t think there is a single person who would object to allowing an exception. Certainly the Timberwolves and Cavaliers organizations would welcome a waiver. The players involved — Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins, probably Anthony Bennett, and possibly a few others — would, too. They would like to know where they will be playing, next year. Other teams and owners shouldn’t care. Not very much, at least.

Also, what is the point of the rule in the first place? To prevent end-arounds the “Stepien Rule,” that prohibits trading away first-round draft picks in consecutive seasons? If so, then why limit the waiting period to just 30 days? 30 days does not prevent a trade like this one; it just deters it and makes the entire process uncomfortable for the players. But when the teams are determined to make the deal — as Cleveland and Minnesota seem to be — it just makes for a very awkward month; one that includes Rookie Photoshoots where the number one overall draft pick is forced to wear a jersey that he will never actually don in a real game. And everybody knows it.

Did you see Wiggins on SportsCenter yesterday? It was one of the more awkward interviews you’ll see. He looks a little depressed about the whole thing. LeBron hasn’t even called him. It’s like he doesn’t have a team, because the one he is actually going to play for cannot even contact him without flagrantly violating the tampering rules. (Well, except for other Timberwolves rookies. Wiggins and Zach LaVine seem to be developing a friendship. Yesterday, that included an informal dunk contest that ended up on the internet.)

And what about Kevin Love? He cannot play in the World Cup for fear of an injury. Paul George just sustained a devastating leg fracture during a Team USA scrimmage. If Love were to get badly hurt in this 30-day window, the Cavs trade would fall through.

I’m sure they’ll just wait it out and make the trade on August 23 or 24. Glen Taylor said as much to the Pioneer Press.

But after watching that Wiggins interview on SportsCenter, it just set in how ridiculous all of this is. If Commissioner Silver is paying attention, he should step in and contact the Cavs and Timberwolves. If each expresses a desire to execute an Andrew Wiggins trade, he should allow it to go through immediately. Stop the silliness, so that one of the league’s bright future stars can be a part of a team already.

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Waiting for Wiggins: Day 8 of 30

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On Monday I linked a David Aldridge column about the rise of Canadian basketball; specifically in the number of Division 1 and NBA prospects hailing from Canadian cities like Toronto.

Today, I have to link to a fantastic Grantland feature story from yesterday about New York City basketball. The Mecca in Decline, by Jordan Ritter Conn, analyzes the degree to which The Big Apple is no longer the hotbed of hoops talent that it once was. It produces fewer NBA players than at any time in history. It produces much fewer pros than other parts of the country, and that’s without even controlling for its massive population. Conn talked to many New York hoops junkies to get insight and theories about the cause of the city’s decline. (Or is it not a decline, but simply everyone else catching up? Is there a difference?)

What is the ideal environment for kids to become great basketball players?

It’s well worth your time to give that a read.

Along those same lines, Ethan Sherwood Strauss wrote a piece for TrueHoop last year about the influx of second-generation NBA players (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Love, to name a few) and why that might be happening. I remember thinking Strauss was on to something with that piece, and it fits well as a follow-up read to Conn’s, from yesterday.

Oh, and if you’re in that sliver on the Venn Diagram of Punch-Drunk Wolves readers who have never seen Hoop Dreams, then go watch Hoop Dreams. I watched it for the gazillionth time on Saturday. It’s on Netflix Instant right now, if that helps. It’s required viewing for any self-respecting hoops junkie.

That is all for today. Happy Friday. Only 22 more days to go.

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