Breaking Down the Kevin Love Trade and What It Means for the NBA
Now that the Kevin Love trade has finally, mercifully, been completed, we can begin to analyze what this means for the teams involved — the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In case you missed it, here’s how it all shakes out: Minnesota will receive 2014 No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins (aka Maple Jordan) and 2013 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett from Cleveland, as well as Philadelphia stretch-4 Thaddeus Young. The 76ers will receive wing defender Luc Mbah a Moute, scoring guard Alexy Shved, and the Miami Heat’s 2015 first-round draft pick, which the Cavaliers acquired in the aftermath of The Decision. Cleveland, obviously, will land Kevin Love.
For Philadelphia, still in the throes of an extended rebuilding process, trading away Young marks the 76ers’ final step in the march away from good basketball. Perennially underrated, Thad Young spent seven years as a small-ball power forward for the 76ers, where his respectable numbers and solid defense (you can read into his metrics here, courtesy of Basketball Reference) went largely unnoticed. While Philly is getting a couple of role players, they’re downgrading in talent, which is what they want. They are committed to being awful.
Minnesota moves forward with an exciting core built around Bennett, Wiggins, and Rubio, which has as much potential for success as the team did with Love, who, if you were down on his abilities, needed to be gifted a ticket to the East as the third-best player on a team in order to make the playoffs. Cleveland — or, dare we say, KLoveland (sorry we’re not sorry) — brings over a win-now addition to its roster, which has filled out around LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to include veterans like Mike Miller and Shawn Marion. The Cavaliers are shooting for a Finals appearance right away, although super-teams on paper don’t always pan out. Just ask Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash about that one.