Today, the trade everyone saw coming is officially in place. Three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love will be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for their two latest top picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. The writing was on the wall for this trade to happen, after reading LeBron James’s Coming Home letter. In said note, King James mentions his excitement behind playing with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, but never the kid heralded as his possible heir.
Wiggins never seemed to take it personal, showing poise whenever the question of being traded was brought up. However, he did admit that LeBron had yet to reach out to him. Andrew’s a smart, extremely gifted kid who just realized his dream, so he’ll most likely make the most out of this. The biggest question: just how does this move benefit the man with Toronto on his back (no, not Drake. Andrew)?
Follow the arrows above to find out.
Now Wiggins Won’t Be In LeBron’s Shadow
The elephant in the room about pairing LeBron and Andrew Wiggins on the same team was just how could they play together? Watching Kyrie Irving throw alley-oops to both of them this season was an exciting thought, but an Eastern Conference version of Lob City doesn’t make for title contenders. LeBron knew that, as did most experts. But what’s most important is that Wiggins gets to write his own narrative. He won’t have to be Pippen, or a young Tracy McGrady (to Vince Carter) or a young Kobe Bryant to a dominant Shaq.
He’ll be in control of his own narrative and development, instead of having to take a backseat to one of the game’s greatest players. Perhaps that means…
We’ll Finally Get To See His True Potential
Unless you’re a hardcore hoops fan that watched the Andrew Wiggins show since he was in high school, you’ve never seen what he can do when he’s the focal point of the team. Even if you are, he had to sacrifice some of the better points of his game in college to fit in at Kansas. Those reigns are now off. Minnesota just wants to put asses in seats, at this point. What’s more exciting than the number one pick, who’s fresh off of a great summer league?
Andrew now has the floor to show what he can really do. He has a long-time friend in Anthony Bennett, who’s also finally showing signs of life and a pass-first point guard who will get him the ball in Ricky Rubio. Are the T’Wolves championship caliber team right now? No. They probably won’t even make the playoffs. But they will be fun to watch, thanks largely to Wiggins. That’s a start.
Wiggins Can Build His Own Brand
Let’s look at something real quick: LeBron James is a Nike athlete. Kyrie Irving is too. Andrew Wiggins just signed a deal (rumored to be about $2M a year) with adidas. Deciding factor or nah?
OK, probably not, but it is something to think about. Nike now has the option of doing dual campaigns with Irving and James, especially regionally. Wiggins is on a sneaker roster that features Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, John Wall and Dwight Howard, among others. Judging by that, if Wiggins does well he could be their answer to LeBron down the line (something they desperately need). He’s a lot more likely to have a signature shoe or at least be in the upper tier with adidas if he’s the driving force behind an NBA franchise, instead of an after thought.
The T’Wolves Will Be Revitalized
Not that Kevin Love wasn’t great while in Minnesota. You don’t average a career double-double and make three all star games in five years (four healthy ones) if you’re not. However, NBA fans haven’t been excited about Minnesota basketball since another Kevin wore 21, and screamed in people’s faces and won MVP’s. Andrew is the type of player you build around. He’s young, makes amazing plays and could potentially be the next NBA superstar.
Which is exactly what Minnesota fans need right now.
There’s No More Uncertainty
Imagine going to work everyday, thinking you’d be fired at any moment. Could you truly concentrate on anything? Would it motivate you, knowing that the company is about to drop you? Despite handling everything like a professional for the cameras, Wiggins had to know this was coming. He just didn’t know when. Now, with the trade all but officially signed, he can concentrate on basketball again.