Love story: Wolves forward will join Cavs, sign long-term
According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the long-discussed trade to send Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package of young players is agreed upon and will be finalized Aug. 23, the earliest allowable date under NBA rules for trading recently signed draft picks.
In return for the All-Star power forward, Minnesota will receive a first-round draft pick and the past two No. 1 overall selections in the NBA draft: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.
Love, 25, averaged 19 points and 12.2 rebounds with the Timberwolves but never made the playoffs. In the final year of his rookie contract, Love planned to test the free agent market in July 2015 if he wasn't traded by the Timberwolves, who took the opportunity to get a young potential star in return rather than lose him on the open market.
According to Yahoo, the Cavaliers could not have created ample salary cap space to sign Love in free agency and fretted he would land with the Chicago Bulls, who also made a significant trade offer.
Love, James and point guard Kyrie Irving re-establish a "Big Three" for the rest of the Eastern Conference to contend with, and threatens to shift the balance of power from Miami to Cleveland. James took the Heat to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances before returning to the Cavaliers on a two-year deal in July. James can opt out of his contract after the 2014-15 season.
Love and Irving, 22, will each be signed through the 2018-19 season, a significant coup for first-year general manager David Griffin.
The structure of James' contract, which includes a player option for next season, might create some uneasiness for the franchise.
But even without James, the young tandem of Irving and Love could make the Cavaliers playoff contenders.
Cleveland dealt a 2015 first-round pick to the Timberwolves, but the Cavaliers are still in position to get younger next summer with two more first-round picks at their disposal.