TORONTO — Anthony Bennett is focused on the upcoming NBA season. His uniform is completely out of his control.
It has been one unusual summer for two of Canada’s top young players.
Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, the last two No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft, are expected to be traded from the Cavaliers to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal for All-Star forward Kevin Love, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
The blockbuster move can’t be finalized until Saturday, when Wiggins is eligible to be traded.
Wiggins deftly danced around questions about his future when he returned to his hometown of Vaughan, Ontario, last week to shoot a commercial.
It was Bennett’s turn Monday when he attended the opening day of the NBA Americas Team Camp at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The forward wouldn’t bite when asked about the reported deal, but said he has kept in touch with Wiggins over the last few weeks.
“We’ve been going back and forth a lot,” Bennett said. “I know he’s busy so I don’t really try to hit him up too much. But he said he’s working, too. So there’s not much we can do, you know.”
Bennett struggled in his rookie season with the Cavs, averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in limited action.
He has dropped some weight over the last few months and was impressive in summer league play. Bennett said he learned a lot over the last year and is determined to come back strong next season.
“I can fight through adversity,” Bennett said. “It wasn’t the best of seasons for me, I will admit that. Fighting the injuries and just the way things were, just never really made me give up. I always just stayed in the gym.”
Bennett, 21, said he isn’t worried about being traded and the rumors have not been a distraction for him.
“I’m just a young man that’s ready to work,” he said. “Wherever I end up, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to play basketball.”
Bennett opened up a little when asked about whether he had any advice for Wiggins as a fellow first overall pick.
“Pretty much I just told him to work hard,” he said. “Just try not to listen to everybody. You can have one bad game, you can have one real good game.
“But you know, it’s just a long season full of ups and downs.”