The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement in principle to send All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Cleveland is making the deal with Minnesota with a firm agreement Love will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers on a five-year, $120 million-plus contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The deal cannot be finalized until Aug. 23, because Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, cannot be traded until one month after the signing of his rookie contract. The two teams have agreed to the deal, but neither would have recourse if the other decided to pull out of the arrangement before it can be formally completed this month. No third team is involved in the Cavaliers-Timberwolves trade agreement.
The precise deal terms have been agreed upon for weeks, but the teams and Love plan to stay silent about the particulars until the trade is announced in 16 days, sources told Yahoo Sports. The draft pick the Cavs will send the Timberwolves is the 2015 first-rounder they acquired from the Miami Heat, sources said.
Part of the Cavaliers’ motivation in making the deal for Love was a belief Love would have ended up with the rival Chicago Bulls in a trade and created a significant obstacle in the Eastern Conference, sources said. Cleveland wouldn’t have had the salary-cap space to sign Love next summer and could have only obtained him through the trade with Minnesota in a deal now.
Wiggins is the centerpiece of the package for Minnesota. The Timberwolves see superstar potential in the forward out of Kansas. Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, has shown signs of progress after a difficult start to his rookie season.
The T’wolves had hopes of unloading contracts in a Love deal, but that won’t be happening. Minnesota still has a goal of freeing itself of J.J. Barea, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, league sources said.
Love informed the Timberwolves he would not return to the team after opting out of his contract next summer, and pushed them to make a trade before the start of this coming season.
Love, 25, is a three-time NBA All-Star. He averaged 26 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Timberwolves last season. For his career, he’s averaged 19 points and 12.2 rebounds.