As I sat in my hotel room watching sports center I saw breaking news come across the ticker that Kevin Love had been officially traded to Cleveland. This bit of news came as no shock to me as this was the worst kept secret in all of sports. The deal had been done weeks ago and agreed upon in principle. The only reason it took this long was the NBA’s rule you can’t trade a draft pick for 30 days following the signing of his rookie contract. Day 31 was today and at about noon I saw the trade that I expected the collective sports world to yawn about. That was until the full details scrolled across my screen in a graphic fitting for a multi-billion dollar company.
In the trade Philly gets Alexey Shved a competent 3rd guard from Russia, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a future 1st round pick. Cleveland of course got the big prize in the Rebound (and Love) Machine. The most pausing thing I noticed though was Minnesota’s haul of Canadian top draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to go along with Thaddeus Young AND a 6.3 million dollar trade exception. Going into a trade teams normally have a planned trajectory; they say with this trade we want to “Win Now”, “Build assets for the future”, or “Create some money”. Somehow the Wolves managed to do all three!
A team trading a super star player almost never gets the same value back. When it comes to trades there is a saying that goes “four quarters don’t equal a dollar bill”. Meaning that if you are giving up LeBron James even if you get back the entire roster of the Charlotte Bobcats you still gave up LeBron James and chances are your chance to win a championship just slimmed down drastically. The same is true of all the top 7 or 8 guys in the NBA. It’s just really hard to replicate that level of talent. Even with multiple pieces.
Ask many of the best minds in basketball and they will tell you that what Denver got for Carmelo Anthony was the best haul any team has gotten when trading its star player. They got Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a 2012 second-round pick (Quincy Miller), a 2013 second rounder (D-Leaguer Romero Osby), their 2014 first rounder, the right to swap picks in 2016 and $3 million cash. Yet even still with all that the most success they have managed to muster is 3 first round playoff exits. Even teams who think they have good deals in place sometimes fail miserably once all the dust settles, this was the same with OKC in their trading of James Harden and his glorious beard.
For Minnesota to get two premier prospects, a ready-made potential all-star, as well as cash, this is easily going to go down as one of the best hauls for a team trading a star, at least on paper. This all of course is predicated on the development of Ender and Bennett. If in 6 years Bennett and Wiggins (great name for a buddy cop drama btw) are the catalyst for a silver medal winning Canadian national team and teetering on Superstardom (Wiggins) and Very Good-dom (Bennett) then this deal will be a rousing success.
I applaud Minnesota for handling this potentially nightmare scenario and making it into a dream situation. The old regime for Minny was defined by discombobulating decisions and star trek references. The new one is off to a great start, but time will be the real telling factor. – Glass