CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The NBA’s worst kept secret is a secret no more — Kevin Love is officially a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Putting an exclamation point on a monumental off-season, Cavs GM David Griffin pulled the trigger on a fault-shifting three-team trade, landing Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves for the NBA Draft’s last two number one selections, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, along with the rights to the Miami Heat’s 2015 first-round draft pick.
“Kevin joining the Cavaliers represents a very special and unique opportunity for our team,” Griffin said in a team press release. “At only 25, Kevin has already firmly established himself as one the NBA’s elite players and his talent, versatility and fit are major parts of our team’s vision for success.”
Following the signing of Wiggins’ rookie deal on July 24, the rookie forward could not be dealt for 30 days. After the two teams reportedly agreed to the deal in principal, the swap became official on Saturday – the first day Cleveland could officially trade Wiggins.
“We want to also wish Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett the best as they will continue the start of their careers in Minnesota,” Griffin added. “They are both outstanding young men that have great potential on the court and long, very successful careers ahead of them.”
Love, 25, joins a completely new cast of characters sporting Wine and Gold threads – spearheaded by the return of LeBron James to the Cavaliers in July.
The three-time All-Star will join the NBA’s latest and possibly most lethal incarnation of a big-three, playing alongside James and two-time NBA All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, seemingly making the Cavs an instant title contender in the Eastern Conference.
He will team up with other new faces in Cleveland including recent free-agent signings Mike Miller, James Jones and Shawn Marion.
Love, who played six years with the Timberwolves, has never been to the playoffs but has established himself as one of the best players in the game. Last season, the 6-10 power forward averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in 77 games played.
In his career, Love has averaged nearly 61 games played per season, averaging 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per contest.
He is officially under contract through the end of the 2014-2015 NBA season.
“He’s one of those guys that, I don’t even really care about the 26 [points] and 12 [rebounds], I care about the basketball IQ. His basketball IQ is very, very high,” James said of Love during the Welcome Home LeBron Celebration at InfoCision Stadium on August 8. “I had an opportunity to spend 32 days with him on the 2012 Olympic team. I always told Kevin Love that, ‘You’re, like, very good, man.’ He always thought I was like, blowing smoke… I always told him he was going to be the reason we won the gold medal. He played a huge role for us… I’m looking forward to it… he’s a great piece.”
Love will officially be introduced to the media on Tuesday, August 26 at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio.
Meanwhile, the Wolves hit the reset button with a young nucleus based around the raw, but talented Wiggins.
Completing the three-team deal, Minnesota sent Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and the Heat’s protected 2015 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Thaddeus Young.
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