Waiting for Wiggins: Day 1


In case you missed it, the Cavaliers signed their (and the league’s) top draft choice, Andrew Wiggins. The ink was spilled on Thursday, and almost every report makes quick mention of the fact that the signing triggered the 30-day countdown until he can be traded legally under the NBA’s arcane rules.

Since this month-long wait will occur during late July and early August — probably the slowest four weeks on the basketball calendar — we thought it would be fun, or at least help pass the time, to do a daily Waiting for Wiggins series. We’ll hit on random basketball stuff until the Wolves are finally allowed to acquire their next star. Some it will involve Andrew Wiggins. Some of it won’t.

We might as well kick this thing off by discussing the fact itself:

Andrew Wiggins signed with the Cavs, yesterday.

What does this mean?

First, I guess it means that he is a Cleveland Cavalier, and not a Minnesota Timberwolf. Not yet, anyway. In case you haven’t been following this storyline religiously on Twitter, I’ll share the basic salary-cap rules at issue that have probably held up a trade between these two teams:

The Cavs, having signed LeBron James to a huge contract, don’t have enough cap room to just absorb Kevin Love’s $16 Million/year salary. So, when these teams trade and Cleveland takes in that money, it also has to send out a package that [basically] offsets it. Unfortunately for the trade’s sake, Cleveland does not have one big, bad contract that would help facilitate the deal. (Think Theo Ratliff’s Expiring Contract, one of the 20, maybe 10, greatest Wolves assets of all time. Theo Ratliff’s Expiring Contract actually doubled as a pretty good rim protector when he was healthy and the team took a night off from tanking and decided to play him. I digress.)

This set of circumstances requires the Cavs to send back a lot of players to offset Love’s salary. And, before he signed, Wiggins’ salary counted for exactly $0 in that equation. With that in mind, it was very difficult to execute a trade. It would have likely had to include Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson. That’s a lot of rotation players. I’ve already written how I suspect the Cavs will want Gorgui Dieng in a Wiggins trade, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that a 4 for 1 deal like this one would gut the Cavs depth; specifically, their frontcourt depth.

Now that Wiggins has signed, his contract — worth about $5.5 Million for next season — counts toward offsetting Love’s in the math of the deal. The downside is that league rules require that a signed first-round pick cannot be traded for 30 days. Hence this post series.

I tweeted my basic reaction to the situation at Canis Hoopus’s Tim Faklis, yesterday:

Why am I impatient about it?

I dunno. It’s July and I need more hobbies.

Why am I worried about the month-long wait?

I guess because it just gives Cleveland that much more time to grow attached to Andrew Wiggins. That means Cavs fans and the organization alike. The 30 days could also be enough time for Golden State to reconsider Klay Thompson’s value. What if they swoop in with Thompson-Lee-Barnes for Love-Martin? Many believe that Flip would prefer that deal to this one with Cleveland, even though his entire fan base feels differently.

Those are the basic reasons for concern: That Cleveland will reconsider, and that another team will intercept Flip’s interest during the wait.

But if Flip can hold his fire for the next month, the Wiggins trade can be a simple one. Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. (Eds note: since the trade machine will not allow me to use Wiggins right now, I can’t confirm this, but it might require 1 throw-in guy like the ones Cleveland just acquired in what was rumored to be a Love-trade-facilitating move.)

I remain optimistic that this deal will get done, because it makes so much sense and it is what the big reporters are reporting. It is made much easier and simpler with Wiggins under contract.

But now we have to wait.



Filed under Timberwolves

4 responses to “Waiting for Wiggins: Day 1

  1. These 30 days are going to be like the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a nine year old who has been given strong hints that his gift will be a genuine Luke Skywalker Landspeeder. So basically, forever.

    This will help. Thanks!

  2. WallyG

    Reaction 1: Wiggins+Bennett for Love is a terrible deal.

    Reaction 2: We will not also give up Dieng, that’s just summer trade speculation crazy talk.

    Rant: Right now, Love is the best asset in the trade, we don’t NEED to trade him, and Cleveland really wants to add him. Flip is likely going to require Cleveland to also take on JJ barea or Budinger or some other ill-fitting wolves contract along with Love. Therefore, Cleveland has acquired a bunch of un-guaranteed contracts (UGCs) to balance the salaries in a deal for Love+Barea (I hope, but probably martin or budinger in reality). Bennett is not a good NBA player, and has done nothing to prove he will be. The wolves should demand tristan thompson, who actually helped his team, and fills the hole at PF. Wiggins+Thompson+UGCs don’t quite match Love + Barea right now, so we may get bennett in the deal anyway, if we’re tough/smart/lucky Dion Waiters is included in the trade in lieu of Bennett. The wolves can cut the UGCs after the trade, and we can all move on to discussing how the post-trade wolves have a serious roster-balance problem.

    Reaction 3: I guess I really hate Bennett as a basketball player. #burnedbyderrickwilliams

    • Wally–
      While your opinion on Bennett is a common one (that I don’t share, but I do understand) yours on the reported trade framework is not. Most view Wiggins/Bennett for Love as a very good, maybe great deal for the Wolves, considering the circumstances. The Cavs get more certainty with Love, and the Wolves get long-term upside in Bennett and Wiggins that is not available in any other realistic trade, given the circumstances of Love’s contract and announcement that he’s leaving Minnesota next year.

      I’m not the one in charge, so I’m just sharing what the reports have suggested along with a little bit of speculation about what I think each side would ask for. Cleveland, if forced to send away Tristan Thompson, would be dumb to not ask for the cheaper Gorgui in return, to fill out its roster.

      But now that Wiggins signed, Tristan isn’t coming here. His name hasn’t been involved in the reports, and he shares LeBron’s agent; the guy who delivered LeBron to Cleveland. They’ll keep him, and pay him next year when he’s a not-hotly-pursued free agent.

      Wiggins-Bennett for Love has been the report for some time now, so that’s what I’m expecting. If JJ is included too, so be it.