CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers have stepped up their efforts to acquire three-time All-Star power forward Kevin Love, but it could cost them a steep price.
Rookie swingman Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft — is now in play as part of a possible trade with Minnesota that would bring Love to Cleveland, USA Today reported Thursday.
Cavs general manager David Griffin has been in negotiations with Timberwolves president/coach Flip Saunders for several weeks, but previously refused to include the All-American from Kansas.
Cleveland’s best standing offer for Love had been power forward Tristan Thompson, shooting guard Dion Waiters and a first-round draft pick.
Golden State also is actively engaged in trade talks with Minnesota, but remains unwilling to deal shooting guard Klay Thompson as part of a three-for-one player offer.
Wiggins is widely considered the third-best prospect to enter the NBA over the last four drafts. The top two are Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving and Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis, though Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has arguably become the cream of the crop.
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound Wiggins averaged 13.7 points in his first three pro games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, helping Cleveland earn the third seed in the 24-team field.
Love, however, could be the final piece in a championship puzzle for the Cavs.
The second-team All-NBA selection averaged a career-high 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season for the Timberwolves, but has repeatedly said that he will not re-sign with the franchise.
The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder is slated to earn $15.7 million in the upcoming season and holds a $16.7 million player option for 2015-16. Love recently told ESPN that he would ink a long-term deal with Cleveland in order to play alongside four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.
Love and James were members of the United States team that won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“The Chosen One” signed a two-year, maximum-level contract with the Cavs last week that also includes an opt-out next summer, but has stated that he plans on finishing his career in Cleveland.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.