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Friday, August 8, 2014

Andrew Wiggins trade done deal

Andrew Wiggins of Kansas stops for a television interview after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Andrew Wiggins of Kansas stops for a television interview after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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The long-rumored trade of Andrew Wiggins from the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers to the Minnesota Timberwolves was confirmed by Yahoo Sports and USA Today on Thursday.

“I think this is kind of anticlimactic,” Kansas University coach Bill Self said with a laugh Thursday on ESPN radio’s “SVP and Russillo” show.

He was speaking after Yahoo Sports and USA Today reported that former KU standout Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first-round pick will be sent from Cleveland to Minnesota for All-Star Kevin Love. The deal will be announced on Aug. 23, one month after Wiggins’ signing of his rookie contract, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski said.

“I know what I hope ... I hope it’s good for both,” Self said. “Obviously, you get a guy (Love) who averaged 26 and 12 to fit in a position that’s needed next to one of the best five point guards (Kyrie Irving) in the league and best player in the world (LeBron James). You’d think you’d have something special going on. At the same time, it’s at the expense of a guy I obviously coached and was No. 1 pick in the draft.”

Yet the 6-foot-8 Wiggins is definitely OK with the deal.

“Visiting with Andrew, I think he’s fine,” Self said. “It’s something that his agent and people close to him have told him that was more than likely going to happen. When I visited with Andrew, he’s like, ‘Coach I’m good with whatever.’

“It appeared to be an unbelievable situation initially (in Cleveland), which obviously it would be. On the flip side, hey, he’ll make the situation in Minnesota an unbelievable situation. He can go be a guy who can be a little bit more of a key component rather than a complementary guy, which I think either way would be good for his career. I think he’ll be fine.”

Self said in knowing Wiggins like he does, “I think he’ll be better in the situation with Minnesota. Knowing him, he will use this as something that will be motivation. Not that anybody did anything wrong. It’s a business, but he’ll use this as motivation. (He’ll say), ‘I have to be this. I have to be that.’

“He’ll say, ‘Hey, they have got to have me do this.’ I think Flip (Saunders, Wolves GM) will tell him, ‘This is what we need you to do,’ which will accelerate his maturity. He’ll be humbled early, yet knowing his personality, he thrives on things like that. A lot of people would say, ‘I’m totally content being this complementary piece,’ which is great for some, but some people raise their level when they say, ‘I’ve got to be better than a complementary piece.’ I think he’s one of those guys,” Self added.

Wiggins last weekend wasn’t stressing over rumors he was headed to the lowly Timberwolves.

“I just want to play for a team that wants me. So whichever team wants me, I’ll play for,” he told ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “It’s out of my hands. At the end of the day, you’ve got to remember the NBA is a business before anything, so I’m just waiting to hear. I’m a rookie. I don’t really have too much say.”

Raptors happy: Michael Grange of Sportsnet/Canada writes that the Toronto Raptors are thrilled at news Wiggins is headed out of Cleveland. That’s because they reportedly feel it’ll be easier for Wiggins to leave Minnesota for Toronto than Cleveland for Toronto when Wiggins first can be offered an extension on his rookie contract after the 2016-17 season.

“Even if Wiggins wasn’t from Toronto, hanging with Drake at OVO Fest and having Caribana parties at the most happening club venues would make Toronto seem like Rio compared to Minneapolis,” writes Grange. “This is his hometown. He is at the forefront of an emerging culture shift that has made basketball part of the fabric of his city.

“Wiggins knows all this. Two years ago on the red carpet at the ESPYs he was asked where he wanted to play in the NBA, if he could choose and he said Toronto. Privately he’s echoed the same sentiments. ... Leaving Minnesota to come to Toronto wouldn’t make him selfish, it would make him a pioneer,” Grange writes.

Grange has a source who believes Wiggins is better off in Minnesota than Cleveland.

“With LeBron, Wiggins would defer too much,” said the source. “When he’s the main man, he’s a completely different player. He can show that in Minnesota.”

Wiggins on Thursday signed a deal to represent BioSteel, a sports drink in Canada.

Kasongo now lists KU, Michigan State, Indiana: Another native of the Toronto area, Ray Kasongo today begins his recruiting visit to Kansas University.

“Very well,” Kasongo’s mentor, Brandon Bender told the Journal-World, asked how well Kasongo knows Wiggins, who will be in town this weekend as guest host of a Bill Self camp at Shawnee Mission West.

Bender reported that the 6-9, 235-pound Kasongo has a new list of finalists: KU, Michigan State and Indiana. Former finalist Memphis landed a transfer in 6-7 Calvin Godfrey on Thursday. Cal also has been eliminated as it is too late to enroll in school there. There’s a chance Kasongo may visit Michigan State on Tuesday.

Kasongo originally signed with Oregon, but was denied admission last week. Bender said Kasongo, who attended Faith Christian School in Mesa, Arizona, last year, has qualified academically to play next season.

Diallo to visit: Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior power forward from Our Savior New American High in Centereach, New York, will make an official visit to KU Sept. 19-21, jayhawkslant.com reports. Rivals.com’s No. 5-ranked player is also considering Kentucky, Iowa State and others.

Comments

Brianna Zaleski 4 years, 10 months ago

What ever happened to LeBron's claim that he knew coming back to Cleveland wasn't going to be easy, but he was ready for the challenge and that he was looking forward to being a mentor to the young players? BS. He facilitated that trade to make it easier for himself.

I feel badly for Wiggins, but he has such a good attitude that I think he'll be fine and this won't stunt his growth too much. Going to that basketball wasteland that is Minnesota, that is.

I believe there were a couple of things at play here. First off, I think LeBron wanted no part of having to share the stage w/ the "next LeBron". Cleveland is his home, he was coming back. It was a picture perfect scenario for his image. God forbid he share any of that spotlight.

Second, and I think this is becoming an epidemic in the league as well as starting to filter down to college, and that is this need to team up with other star players. Winning a championship should be a struggle, not who has the most bargaining chips on the table. Does anyone really think that LeBron's 2 titles in Miami mean as much as, say, the Bulls first couple, or even the Pistons 2 with the Bad Boys? Going to Cleveland and orchestrating a deal to get other superstars there, taints any success that they may have, IMO. LeBron missed a chance to really go down as the best, or top 1-3 players ever, if he had stayed with that core group of young kids and mentored them to the top. It would have been a struggle, and there would have been some bumps along the way, but its supposed to be hard, isn't it?

The biggest losers in this whole deal are the casual NBA fans (which are probably its biggest demographic). Would you tune in for a regular season game on a Tues night to watch LeBron, Irving and Wiggins put on a jaw dropping show? I would. Do you care to watch LeBron, Irving and Love other than in the playoffs? Not me. I'll stick with Big Bang Theroy or Deadliest Catch.

I hope LeBron and Love fall flat on their faces and have no chemistry together. I hope Lebron gets exposed for the fraud that he is. I hope Love gets blown by on a nightly basis as he tries to figure out how to play the other end of the court. It didn't matter in Minn., he was going to lose anyway. He didn't have to get stops. He could put up as many shots as he wanted and corral all the bricks by his subpar teammates that allowed his stats to balloon. Whats he going to do when he has to buckle down and stop someone because the playoffs are depending on it?

Mick Allen 4 years, 10 months ago

Brianna, you make some excellent points in your rant.

Janet Olin 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't see LBJ as a fraud, but he thinks CLE will win if Love is aboard this year; prob won't happen, and I don't care either way. Wiggs was doomed as a #1 pick to go to a team that sucks, wherever, and he will have to improve (hold his own) wherever he is until the first contract is over, when he can choose (he already said he'd like to play in Toronto). Wiggs is talented, classy,humble and hard-working. The way he has kept his composure in this media circus has won him fans way outside Jayhawk Nation. He will be fine (and wealthy); I will watch him play and root for him no matter where he plays during his career.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 10 months ago

Love is a known commodity, Wiggins is not as a NBA player, it is that simple for Cleveland. It is a no brainer type trade actually, since Cleveland can get rid of last year’s bad 1st round pick and replace him with Love. This is how the NBA operates, really any pro league now a days. If the players want to take a lower paycheck to play together and their contracts line up they can put themselves in advantageous situations to win championships, who can stop them? It is not a guarantee that they will win, but it accelerates their chances. 82 games plus all the playoff games, plus this year World Championship games are a grind, especially if all you are doing is losing. It has been proven that you need at least 2 if not 3 key players to win in the NBA consistently. I think LB wants to win it quick in 2 years at Clv. Then he orchestrates another all-star setup with some other team. Clv. will not care if he leaves and they have 1 or 2 Championships to show for it.

The NBA is an acquired taste of basketball; the league's draft is flawed as well. It is a hard game to watch for me. I would rather watch high school BB over the NBA. Their appeal to sports fans is in a 3 way tie for a distant third with the MLB and NHL, behind the NFL. I agree with you it sucks but if all you care about as a player is winning, then this trade makes sense. Cleveland needs a third all-star player like Love.

I prefer the college basketball by far over the NBA. I am a big fan of Wiggins too. He needs to do what Love did at MN, so he can be in the next discussion when players want to pick teams again, probably in two years. I think he is signed for 4 with an option, well at least he is young.

I had a college business teacher start out one class saying "Money is not a motivating factor for people". I disagreed right from the start but he showed us what he said was quite true. The way the players are controlling their league is disappointing but if if they don't care about money it is hard to stop them.

PS- no one is going to say anything about LB's two tittles having an Asterisk on the banners in Miami. He did not cheat, and he was not given them, he was a big part of the team that won. That is all anyone will remember.

Janet Olin 4 years, 10 months ago

Brianna, your comments about Love not playing good defense are right on, as well. Andrew is a much better defender. But they know it already and don't care apparently. So be it.

Jack Wilson 4 years, 10 months ago

Love is a superstar now.

Wiggins may be a superstar in the future, but he may not be.

The deal is a no brainer for Cleveland given their win now posture. And it's a no brainer for Minnesota, though their posture appears to be to never win.

Now, what I really want to know is who will start at PG for KU? This is the important stuff.

Mike Riches 4 years, 10 months ago

I think Wiggins' chances of becoming an All-Star are much greater in Minnesota than in Cleveland. He should have a lot more opportunities to have the ball in his hands during crucial stretches of the game, and may develop more as a leader, not being in LeBron's shadow. If he's as good as many expect, he may quickly become the number one option on this team. Wouldn't it be great if he led Minnesota to the playoffs, something Love was unable to do in six years?

Sure his chances of winning would have been infinitely better in Cleveland, but that may have been offset by the fact he would have had to live in...Cleveland. Of course, in Minneapolis winter is the same as the entire NBA season, October-June (shudder...)

Jonathan Unruh 4 years, 10 months ago

can't wait to see wiggins guard LeBron. + Wiggins will get more touches in Mn. If he'd stayed in cleveland love and LeBron would shoot all the damn time.

Kevin Jenkins 4 years, 10 months ago

Sorry but I am not a LeBron fan. But he is a great player. And with Love coming and Kyle playing. Cleveland willl be great team. I think management wanted a team that can win now. I still wonder why not keep Wiggins, so talented and has the potential. Ofcourse Bennett was a very bad.pick. Wiggins just has too prove himself in the NBA. Jack and Mike are both right. I just wish Minnesota would do something to try and win a championship. They have.had the talent before and are getting it again now. But they still don't have all the pieces, just one of them. Maybe tank like Philly. We just hope the best for our KU Wiggins.

Janet Olin 4 years, 10 months ago

Wiggs staying positive and humble is the best thing he can do, having no influence over the deal. Turn lemons into lemonade. I am and will be a huge fan of Wiggins. Many NBA players with far greater seniority show less maturity. At 19, I'm impressed by his savvy and his humility (not to mention his skills).

Walter Bridges 4 years, 10 months ago

Cleveland isn't known for having competitive or competent pro teams. The Browns are better known for 'the fumble' and 'the drive' than for winning big games.

Wiggins is lucky to have a chance to star on a different team. LeBron doesn't like having to share the spotlight.

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