Heat Check – Wiggins or Love?

Wiggins or Love?
The future or the present?
As trade rumors heat up and the Cavs go about putting together a younger Big Three around LeBron, every question and debate seems centered around the simple idea of Wiggins or Love. Do you go for the future and unknown potential with Wiggins (who could be a star but is pretty raw) or Love (a proven star who has struggled as a primary guy but who rebounds, shoots and scores with reckless abandon).

For me it comes down to a relatively simple idea: if you knew Love would become the player he is today and he was in the 2014 draft would he be taken first? Unquestionably he would be. Teams do not pass on a double double machine who averages 25-13 and can shoot 50-40-90 without blinking. Love has always played on teams plagued by bad luck, injuries and completely incompetent management (Khaaaaaaaaan!). Should he have taken a team to the playoffs? Yes, but in the East he would have, and Kevin Love is definitely good enough to win his team a playoff series. He was playing crunch time minutes for the 2012 Olympic Team and hit nearly every open shot he took. Love is an elite player and it is rare that one passes on an elite player, especially one who is only 25.

The argument for Wiggins hinges completely on his unknown potential. Trades for the number one overall pick are exceptionally rare (Penny for Webber) and are usually made on draft day. Wiggins gives the Cavs more defensively than Love does, and will give LeBron an opportunity to take the first three quarters off on the other team’s best player. Offensively though he will give much less – probably just the occasional thunderous alley-oop. Irving and LeBron both thrive with the ball though, and having someone like Wiggins may be better overall for the team and team chemistry. Additionally, in this increasingly tight salary cap era, Wiggins will make significantly less for three years (probably the next four as well) than Love would. Signing and keeping Wiggins would help keep the Cavs under the cap and eligible to sign other pieces as needed to contend (how much longer is Sideshow Andy going to be great?).

Love though, is a star – not to say that Wiggins may not be. If you have a chance to get Kevin Love, you have to take it. Period. He takes a very good team and makes it a title contender, which is why the Bulls are desperately trying to steal him away at the 11th hour. The Cavs will probably make the move and they will probably get Love which will make them the Eastern Conference favorite. LeBron deserves nothing less than a great team, he is not on the Cavs to waste his prime years.

He is there to win a championship for the city of Cleveland.

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