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Andrew Wiggins: Kobe Bryant is closest thing to Michael Jordan

Andrew-WigginsAndrew Wiggins has a ton of respect for Kobe Bryant’s game and compares him to the player he considers to be the greatest ever: Michael Jordan. Wiggins even wants to challenge the Lakers superstar 1-on-1 more than any other player in the NBA.

In a 2013 interview with ESNews that took place before he even began his college career at Kansas, Wiggins was asked which NBA great he’d play 1-on-1 if he had his choice. He named Kobe.

“I’d want to face Kobe because he’s the closest thing to the greatest ever. I think Michael Jordan’s the greatest ever, but Kobe’s second to Michael Jordan, and I want to see where I stand.”

Wiggins also said in the interview, “I’m a big fan,” of Kobe Bryant.

Wiggins was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers and is expected to head to Minnesota as part of a Kevin Love trade. In this particular interview, he mentioned the Toronto Raptors as a team he’d like to be drafted by. If he still feels strongly about Toronto, keep that in mind for when he becomes a free agent.

Also keep this interview in mind when it comes time for Wiggins to face Bryant. Based on his words, you know he’ll be bringing his A-game.

(Note: A previous version of this post contained a supposed quote from Kobe saying the Wiggins trade would be like the Hornets trading him to the Lakers. That appears to be a fabricated quote.)

Andrew Wiggins told Bill Self he wanted to be traded

Andrew-WigginsSince LeBron James announced he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, speculation began about him being joined by Kevin Love.

Love has, of course, made it known his intentions to opt out of final year of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves and become a free agent after the 2014-2015 season. With this in mind, it makes sense for Minnesota to trade their All-Star and get something in return before he departs. The Cavaliers are able to dangle last year’s No. 1 overall pick (Anthony Bennett), this year’s top pick (Andrew Wiggins), and a first round pick, increasing their status as a likely trade partner.

Wiggins is the key component for the Timberwolves, as he should be, and while some may not be thrilled with the idea of being traded, the 19-year-old seems to think it may be the best thing for him. When speaking with former coach Bill Self, Wiggins indicated he was hoping to be traded.

“When all this trade stuff started, I talked to Andrew and Andrew told me, “I hope I get traded,” Self said via Sporting News. “And I’m like, ‘No you don’t.’ And he said, “Coach, I do. It’s better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.”

Credit to Wiggins for embracing the opportunity to be more of a focal point and realizing it will be beneficial for his development. During his long season at Kansas, some questioned Wiggins’ ability to take over games due to his laid back personality. With the Timberwolves, he will surely have a larger role, giving him ample opportunities to shed that label.

Report: Cavs have trade, long-term extension in place for Kevin Love

Kevin LoveKevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers is as official as it can be without actually being official. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the Cavs and Minnesota Timberwolves have reached a deal for Love and that Love has agreed to sign a long-term extension with Cleveland.

As expected, the T-Wolves will get Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in addition to a protected first-round pick. The deal cannot be finalized until Aug. 23 because of NBA rules prohibiting players from being traded within 30 days of signing a rookie contract.

Love has reportedly made a “firm agreement” with the Cavs that he will opt out of his current contract after the 2014-2015 season and sign a five-year extension worth around $120 million. Woj also added that the Cavs felt a sense of pressure to make the deal now knowing they would not have the salary cap space needed to sign Love as a free agent next summer. Had they not traded for him, the Chicago Bulls likely would have.

It does not appear that there is a third team involved in the trade, as was previously reported.

So what does it all mean? The return of LeBron James instantly made the Cavs a championship contender. The addition of Love makes them downright scary. While Wiggins is a phenomenal talent and could wind up being one of the best players in the league, Cleveland is likely better off with Love in the short term. LeBron will turn 30 next season, so time is somewhat of the essence.

Love is a proven talent and an NBA All-Star. If healthy,  LeBron, Love and Kyrie Irving have a chance to dominate a weak Eastern Conference.

Andrew Wiggins has not spoken to LeBron James

Andrew-WigginsMost people would be surprised if Andrew Wiggins actually plays in a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. With Minnesota Timberwolves ownership making it clear over the weekend that the intention is to trade Kevin Love, the Cavs are still the favorite to land the All-Star forward. Wiggins is Cleveland’s top bargaining chip.

But just in case you weren’t convinced that LeBron James wants Love on the Cavs, Wiggins told Tim Bontemps of the New York Post on Sunday that he still has not spoken to LeBron.

“No. I’m sure he’s busy,” Wiggins said. “I feel like I’m busy, so I’m sure he’s busy.”

I’d be willing to bet a large sum of money that LeBron hasn’t been too busy to reach out to Kyrie Irving, even if only by text message. It’s also worth noting that James mentioned several of his new teammates by name in the essay he wrote for Sports Illustrated, but he didn’t mention Wiggins. Considering Wiggins is a No. 1 overall pick, the omission was fairly surprising.

In an appearance on SportsCenter Sunday, Wiggins sounded like a young man who knows he could be on the move.

“I just want to play for a team that wants me,” he said, per USA Today Sports. “So whichever team wants me I’ll play for.”

Will the Cavs be devastated if they are unable to move Wiggins for Love? I doubt it, but it seems obvious their goal is to have Love on their roster when the season begins and not the former Kansas star. The fact that LeBron has not reached out to Wiggins says it all.

Cavs’ Andrew Wiggins trade offer for Kevin Love said to be the best

Kevin Love mustache

Kevin Love is still with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still said to be the leaders to acquire him.

Here’s what ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted on Thursday about a potential Love trade:

The T-Wolves have resisted trading Love and still have him under contract for another season, but they risk losing him and receiving nothing in return. It makes much more sense for them to trade him for a potential All-Star like Andrew Wiggins.

Though there has been a lot of chatter about other teams getting in the trade mix for Love, it’s pretty clear that the Cavs present the best offer.

Cleveland signed Wiggins Thursday, meaning they can’t trade him for 30 days. Once that passes, Minnesota should do the trade.

Jason Whitlock on Andrew Wiggins: Canadian athletes ‘don’t want it as much’

Andrew-WigginsThe Cleveland Cavaliers seem like they have decided that they would rather pair Kevin Love with LeBron James and hope for instant results instead of developing rookie sensation Andrew Wiggins. The Cavs have reportedly agreed to include Wiggins in any potential trade for Love. Does that have anything to do with Wiggins’ nationality? Jason Whitlock seems to think so.

During his chat with Keith Olbermann on Monday night, Whitlock cited the fact that Wiggins is Canadian as one reason the Cavs should trade him for Love.

“I think that smart basketball people, and I don’t want to attach this to LeBron and his camp — Andrew Wiggins is from Canada,” the ESPN columnist said. “Canadian athletes, I think, among NBA players and NBA people, perhaps don’t want it as much as even some of the European and certainly the American players.”

In other words, the Cavs should take ethnic stereotypes into consideration when pondering Wiggins’ future. Olbermann later reminded Whitlock that Wiggins is only half Canadian and that his father is an American who played in the NBA.

“Andrew Wiggins’ effort and intensity was sometimes inconsistent at Kansas,” Whitlock said. “That may be a personality quirk that he will deal with throughout his entire career and that’s why I think (Cleveland) would probably prefer to play with Kevin Love.”

If Whitlock believes Wiggins lacks a “motor,” that’s fine. He’s entitled to his own opinion and assessment of the player. But if he thinks the Cavs should trade Wiggins in part because he is from Canada, that’s probably something Whitlock is best keeping to himself. Then again, this is the same guy who made an Asian penis joke about Jeremy Lin.

Video via SB Nation

Coach K would trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love without hesitation

Kevin LoveOpinions on whether the Cleveland Cavaliers should trade Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love have been split. On one side, you have the people who believe Wiggins is a rare prospect who could eventually be one of the best players in the NBA. On the other, the argument is that Love is already an All-Star and you know what you are getting with him. Duke and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski belongs to the latter group.

During an interview with John Feinstein on CBS Sports Radio Monday, Coach K said he would make the trade “right away” if he were running the Cavs.

“I think there’s absolutely not one second of hesitancy,” Coach K said. “I’d trade for Kevin Love. That’s not saying anything about any of the other (players involved in the deal). Love’s an All-Star. He’s a double-double guy, but he’s a double-double guy that can spread the court. There aren’t many double-double guys, if any, who spread the court. He can go inside and outside.”

Krzyzewski, who has coached Love with Team USA, also brought up a point that I agree with — LeBron is pushing 30 and isn’t exactly a young player anymore.

“You look at LeBron and you have the best player in the world,” Coach K added. “He’s 29. I’m not saying he’s at the end of his career, but he’s in the second half of his career, let’s put it that way. And in the first half of his career, he was becoming a great player. He was a great talent becoming a great player. That takes time – just like if Wiggins or (Anthony) Bennett are going to be great, it’s not going to happen right now. They’re great talents. LeBron is a great player right now. You do not want to waste any year of a great player’s career.”

As I mentioned before, the Cavs would only regret dealing Wiggins for Love if it didn’t turn into a championship. If Cleveland wins one or two titles with LeBron and Love and Wiggins becomes Kobe Bryant, there would be no regrets. The Cavs have never won an NBA championship, so any trade they make that helps them win one is worthwhile.

Assuming the Cavs are willing to include Wiggins in a potential Love trade, it is probably the Timberwolves that are holding up the deal. Now that they have gotten the offer they want from Cleveland, an even more aggressive bidding war for Love is taking place.

H/T Eye on Basketball