How LeBron James saved the Timberwolves
When this was taken in June, Wolves fans couldn't have imagined Andrew Wiggins would play his first game for Minnesota. But thanks to LeBron, it appears he will.
Two months ago, the Timberwolves were in a tough spot. Kevin Love had already made it clear he wanted out of Minneapolis, and the most enticing available trade looked to be with Golden State, where the best player coming our way, guard Klay Thompson, would be hitting restricted free agency next summer and looking for a huge long-term contract.
Basketball considerations aside, Flip Saunders and company couldn't have been reassured to hear Klay's dad, former University of Minnesota star Mychael Thompson, go on the radio in California and say he was "depressed" and "disappointed" about the rumors linking his son to the Timberwolves. Thompson, in fact, said he was "going to have to talk [Klay] down off the ledge" if he was traded to Minnesota.
That wasn't ideal, but with K-Love only a year away from having the ability to leave town for nothing, it seemed like the best option out of a bad set.
Then, on July 11, this happened:
Suddenly, a new, enticing possibility opened up. Though conventional wisdom was that K-Love wanted to end up along his native West Coast in either Los Angeles or the Bay Area (New York was also a rumored destination), what self-respecting NBA player wouldn't want to play with one of the top players of all time in his prime, even if you had to relocate to Cleveland to make it happen?
But Bron's homecoming wasn't all. Cleveland also needed some ridiculous luck to land K-Love, and they got it, as the Cavs secured this year's top draft pick by winning the lottery despite having less than a 2 percent chance of doing so. They used their selection on 19-year-old Canadian swingman Andrew Wiggins, a player some compare to Kevin Durant. (Timberwolves fans can only drool thinking about that...)
(For more, click to page two.)
With LeBron set to turn 30 next season and having the ability to opt out of his new contract as soon as the summer of 2015, the Cavs had the will to trade a promising rookie piece for an established elite player like K-Love. And with Wiggins, they had the way.
So, less than two months after K-Love reportedly vetoed a pre-Bron-homecoming trade to Cleveland that would've landed the Wolves the top pick in the draft, the Cavs and Wolves now find themselves in a spot where this news seemingly benefits both organizations while appeasing Love's desire to head for greener pastures:
Sources: Cavs have agreement for Kevin Love, including long-term contract commitment. Wiggins, Bennett, pick to Minn. http://t.co/r2KmO5owwY
-- Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 7, 2014
But the Wolves' suddenly promising future wouldn't be nearly as bright had LeBron decided to keep his talents in South Beach.
So thank you, LeBron, for putting Wolves fans in a spot where we can realistically dream about a future where Ricky Rubio and Wiggins join forces to accomplish what K-Love's teams couldn't during his six-year tenure here -- a playoff berth. In fact, the only way Bron could've helped us out more would've been to just outright sign with Minnesota in the first place.
And speaking of the future, this should be fun:
-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 7, 2014
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