Friday, August 08, 2014

Wiggins For Love: Oh No No No No No No No (Yes. A Bit)

The worst-kept secret in the history of the NBA is out, namely, that the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to unload disgruntled star and Beach Boys-connected genetic freak Kevin Love to the Cleveland LeBrons in exchange for this year's #1 overall pick (Andrew Wiggins, who claimed to have no idea he was on the block), last year's #1 overall pick (Anthony Bennett, who played last year like he was auditioning to be one of Gonzo the Great's backup chickens) and a protected #1 pick in 2015. (Protected, for those of you who don't speak NBA rules jargon, means "you don't get it if we suck". With LeBron, Love, and Kyrie Irving on board, that seems unlikely.)

For various reasons, the trade can't officially be consummated until August 23rd, which marks precisely 30 days since Wiggins signed his contract with the Cavaliers. This is the rule; no trading a guy within 30 days of signing his first contract. This makes absolutely no sense, as A)you can trade the guy's rights before he signs but not after and B)if you know you're going to trade the guy, there's no reason to make him go through the charade of starting to learn your playbook, finding a place to live, etc. when it's all going to be irrelevant as soon as the calendar rolls over.

Then again, this is the NBA, where the luxury tax rules were written by Dean Wormer - I'm pretty sure the Nets are on double super secret probation - and contracts are more valuable trade assets than the players they're attached to. We went down the rabbit hole a long, long time ago on this one.

But I digress; toward the end of August, Messrs. Wiggins and Bennett will find themselves as possible extras for Season 2 of Fargo, while King James gets the running mate he wants to round out his new Big 3 in Cleveland.

(Note: One of the reasons James left 4 years ago was that he supposedly tried and failed to recruit free agents to join him in Cleveland, and the Chris Boshes of the world told him he was @#$#ing nuts. This time, he's taking no chances: his first running mate got drafted onto the banks of the Cuyahoga and the second is getting himself traded there, so there's no chance they'll make a sharp left turn and end up as Celtics.)

In truth, if you look at what James did - and make no mistake, James is almost certainly the driving force behind all of Cleveland's personnel moves right now - he's recreated the Heat of 4 years ago. Big man who plays better when not stapled to the rim? Swap in Kevin Love for Chris Bosh. Injury-prone slashing guard who's maybe not the best distributor in the world, but who can really fill it up as needed? Swap in Kyrie Irving for Dwyane Wade.  No-name coach who's good with tactics but not a Name? Swap in David Blatt for Erik Spoelstra. Deep threat gunner who can come off the bench and fill it up from outside? Swap in Mike Miller for...never mind. He stays.

Really, that's the endgame. The party was over in Miami. Wade had lost several steps. The supporting cast fell apart. Nobody was getting any younger, and management made it clear that it wasn't going to be bringing in reinforcements. So LeBron just picked up his party and started it all over in Cleveland, where he could call the shots. It's a brilliant move and it's got as good a chance as anything of landing him more rings, and last time I checked, that was supposed to be the point of the exercise. 

And if all the cards fall right and the new Big 3 does bring a ring to Shaker Heights, then it won't matter what Wiggins does in 2016 or 2020, and the 30 days' wait to get him into a T-Wolves uni will be forgotten. Strictly from a human standpoint, it would have been nice if they could have told him just a little bit sooner. But then again, last minute announcements about where someone's going to be playing next year have been baked into this thing from the beginning.

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