Andrew Wiggins has an NBA home. Maybe a temporary one.
The Cavaliers signed Wiggins, the No. 1 overall draft pick out of Kansas, on Thursday, a deal that prevents Wiggins from being traded for 30 days.
Wiggins has been linked to a possible blockbuster trade with Minnesota for All-Star forward Kevin Love. But any deal now involving Wiggins can’t be finalized for at least 30 days.
The Cavs and Timberwolves have had talks about a trade involving Love for months, long before Cleveland selected Wigginswith the first pick in last month’s draft. Those discussions have intensified lately, and the sides can still reach an agreement on a trade but nothing can be finalized until late August.
Now that Wiggins is under contract, the league’s seldom-used 30-day rule is in effect.
The rule was designed to prevent teams from circumventing salary-cap rules.
The spirit behind the rule is that if a rookie is traded immediately after he signs, it gives the appearance that the acquiring team is the one that is in fact signing him.
Cleveland’s decision to sign Wiggins actually makes it easier to trade him. Before his deal, he had zero value on the salary cap but his contract — worth $5.5 million — could allow the Cavs to clear enough room to take on a player like Love, who is sent to earn $15.7 million next season.
With Wiggins unable to be moved by Cleveland for a month, it’s possible other teams may approach the Timberwolves to make a run at Love, a double-double machine and arguably the league’s top power forward. Love is entering his final year under contract in Minnesota and has said he does not intend to sign a long-term deal with the Timberwolves.
Cleveland had been reluctant to include Wiggins in a package for Love, but the team has softened its stance and may be willing to part with Wiggins a 6-foot-8 forward with a 44-inch vertical leap.
The Cavs are interested in bringing in Love to form a “Big 3” with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. That trio would make the Cavs an overwhelming favorite in the Eastern Conference, and potentially put them in position to win the city’s first major sports championship since 1964.