Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.
Cleveland officially, finally signed No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins this afternoon to a rookie contract that will pay him about $5.5 million this coming season.
That's the clock counting down on the next 30 days, the time both the Cavs and the Timberwolves must wait before Wiggins can be traded.
The Wolves need to wait though that period because they need Wiggins' $5.5 million salary to make any Kevin Love trade work under the NBA's salary-cap rules.
Until this afternoon, Wiggins held no value in a trade of a salaries.
Now, you can put his $5.5 million salary with 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett's similar salary, add one, two or all three of those non-guaranteerd contracts the Cavs acquired from Utah the other day and...now you're talking deal.
You'll continue to hear all kinds of rumors until Aug. 23 -- the end of the 30 days -- including probably many reports that the teams have reached a deal.
I doubt such a deal will be reached until near the end of those 30 days because nothing's binding until then. The parameters of a deal -- Love for Wiggins, Bennett and one of Cavs' future first-round pick probably -- likely has been discussed between the teams, but if the Wolves agreed now they'd be taking teams like Chicago and Golden State out of the picture.
The more teams interested, the better the Wolves' leverage. For now.
It also gives the Wolves more time to seek a third team from whom they could buy cap space to take the contracts of J.J. Barea and/or Alexey Shved.
In case you missed it from last night's story on the website:
The Wolves are bringing back forward Robbie Hummel for a second season. The two sides reached agreement Monday on a one-year minimum guaranteed contract on the same day free agent Evan Turner chose Boston over the Wolves' pursuit.
Here's the story from our web site from last night.
Readers have commented on that story, speculating that Hummel was signed to include in a trade.
The trouble with that theory is he can't be traded now until December 15 at the earliest, I believe.
Hummel gives the Wolves another player along with veteran Luc Mbah a Moute who can play some power forward, particularly in Kevin Love is traded away.
He also gives the Wolves' 14 guaranteed contracts now. That leaves one open slot for a 2-for-1 trade involving Love and, oh, say Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.
Those discussions between the Wolves and Cavaliers appear to be progressing. Yahoo!Sports today reported that the Cavaliers are searching the league for non-guaranteed contracts to make a bigger Love trade work.
The News-Herald newspaper in Ohio this afternoon reported Cleveland is now willing to trade No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, to the Timberwolves in a deal for Kevin Love.
If the two sides are able to make a deal, it likely will include Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and possibly a first-round pick, but the teams will have to figure out how to make the money work, considering Love makes $15-plus million and the Cavs are stretched to the cap limit after signing LeBron James and others.
That process could involve a third team in the trade to make the money work if the Cavs are not willing to include center Anderson Varejao, whose nearly $10 million salary would do wonders to make the deal work.
The Cavaliers own protected 2015 first-round picks from Miami and Memphis to offer, although it might take a pick to get a third team to participate if needed.
I heard rumblings before I left Las Vegas yesterday that Wiggins could be now be in play after multiple reports in the last week citing Cavs sources say they defiintely would not trade the No. 1 pick and all the promise that he holds.
Well, James has returned this week after attending Sunday's World Cup final in Brazil and perhaps is making his voice heard.
I haven't got the impression today from checking around that trade discussions have yet advanced enough for the Wolves to know whether Wiggins indeed is obtainable, but it does sound like a breakthrough indeed is possible.
The other issue that needs to be determined: Will Love opt in for the fourth season of his contract or agree to sign an extension next summer. If he really meant it all last season when he said all he wants is a chance to win, he will.
Here's the News-Herald story.Stay tuned.
USA Basketball announced the final training camp roster for the FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by Spain beginning in early August.
Kevin Love is, of course on the roster. Here are the others, alphabetical order:
Bradley Beal, G, Washington; DeMarcus Cousins, F, Sacramento; Stephen Curry, G, Golden State; Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans; DeMar DeRozan, G/F Toronto; Andre Drummond, F/C, Detroit; Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City; Kenneth Faried, F, Denver; Paul George, G/F, Indiana; Blake Griffin, F, Los Angeles Clippers; James Harden, G, Houston; Gordon Hayward, F, Utah; Kyrie Irving, G, Cleveland; Kyle Korver, G, Atlanta; Damian Lillard, G, Portland; Chandler Parsons, F, Dallas Mavericks; Derrick Rose, G, Chicago; Klay Thompson, G/F, Golden State.
Among some notable names missing on this list? Washington guard John Wall and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard.
And just like that...LeBron James announces he indeed is going home to Cleveland, four years after he left in a depature that turned so bitter.
Here's the essay in which James explains himself, and why he chose now as the time to do what he always thought he would do, go home.
Of course, there are big Timberwolves implications here, if the Cavs indeed do now make a play to put Kevin Love alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Read the essay and you'll notice this: LeBron talks about how he wants to mentor and raise Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters right. Glaringly, he never made mention of consecutive No. 1 picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.
The price will be Wiggins -- and other pieces inclulding draft pick(s) and perhaps Bennett -- and right now it's not clear just how eager the Cavaliers will be to do so.
Of course, Love would have to be willing to sign long term to stay in Cleveland. For all the speculation that Love wants to play in Los Angeles or a big market, the only thing he has said publicly is that he wants to win.
Now's the time to back up his word.
You'd think swapping Wiggins for Love in a bigger package would be a no-brainer for the Cavs, but...
It'll be interesting to see if Wiggins plays for the Cavaliers team this afternoon when it starts its Las Vegas Summer League play.
And it'll be interesting to see if:
* The Cavs try to get greedy and try to make a deal with the Wolves without including Wiggins.
* And if Flip Saunders gets greedy and tries to use the Cavs and Wiggins to leverage Chicago -- if they lose out on Carmelo Anthony -- into giving him the deal he has sought from them: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and the rights to Nikola Mirotic.
You also say that about Golden State, but the Bulls now have more incentive to keep Love away from LeBron and the Cavs.
Stay tuned, it's going to be a wild ride...
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