Saturday it became official: Andrew Wiggins is a Minnesota Timberwolf, being traded away from the Cavaliers. This news comes as no surprise as the trade has been all but done for the last few weeks.
The official trade became a 3-team trade involving the Philadelphia 76ers as well as the Cavs and Timberwolves. The Wolves acquired Wiggins as well as Anthony Bennett from the Cavs and Thaddeus Young from Philly, the Cavs received Kevin Love, and the 76ers got Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alexy Shved and a future first round pick.
Wiggins, along with Bennett and Young, go to Minnesota to join a team that is now in complete rebuild mode, but may not be for very long. Trading Kevin Love means that the Wolves are losing one of the top-10 players in the NBA, but most experts agree that they got maximum value in return.
Wiggins has been rumored to be the best NBA prospect since LeBron James, Bennett is a young work in progress who is beginning to show some upside entering his second season, and Young is a good, scrappy starting caliber power forward that averaged 18 PPG last season in Philly. The combination of the three could thrust the Timberwolves into a playoff team sooner that you think.
These three go to join the likes of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and big man Nikola Pekovic who headline the remaining roster. Wiggins will likely be asked to do much more offensively than he was originally expected to in Cleveland, as Kevin Martin and himself are now the most talented offensive players on the roster.
I project the starting lineup for the Timberwolves to look somewhat like this:
PG Ricky Rubio, SG Kevin Martin, SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Thaddeus Young, C Nikola Pekovic, with Bennett playing the sixth man role.
Overall, Wiggins should see a bigger load on his shoulders than he would have gotten in Cleveland. Kansas fans should be excited with the change, as he will no longer have to play in the shadow of LeBron.
Unfortunately, this also means that Wiggins will be on national television much less, as the Timberwolves will struggle for a year or two as Wiggins gets acclimated to the NBA game and all the new pieces begin to mesh. Once the team has a few years together though, I see them being a real contender in the West for years to come.
Don’t forget to show some Andrew some love and get that Wiggins Timberwolf jersey! By the way, if you purchased a Wiggins Cavaliers jersey, don’t worry, you can exchange it for a Timberwolves one (Story courtesy of Tristan Thornburgh of Bleacher Report).
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