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Monday, July 14, 2014

Cavs coach: Wiggins ‘not going anywhere’

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Associated Press

Andrew Wiggins of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks in an NBA summer league basketball Friday, July 11, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

— Life has been rapidly changing for Andrew Wiggins lately. No longer the freshman phenom at Kansas, he’s now the prodigy, the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s also changing positions.

Wiggins was widely regarded as a prototypical small forward before the draft, but the Cavs’ addition of LeBron James is expected to slide Wiggins to shooting guard.

But the Cavaliers are insisting, both privately and publicly, Wiggins won’t be changing teams.

Since James’ arrival, Wiggins has been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade discussions. The Cavs and Timberwolves haven’t actively engaged in trade talks since the draft, one league source with knowledge of the discussions said. They wouldn’t part with the No. 1 pick before the draft and remain adamant they’re not going to trade Wiggins now.

“There’s no reason for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere as far as I know,” Cavs coach David Blatt said Saturday.

Wiggins had 18 points, three rebounds, a steal and a block in his professional debut Friday night during the Cavs’ 70-68 summer league victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and No. 2 pick Jabari Parker. But Wiggins shot just 7-for-18, including 1-for-8 on three-pointers. The scouting report on Wiggins before the draft was that his shot still needed work. That was true in his debut.

But Wiggins is excited to welcome James back and most everyone believes James can serve as a terrific mentor to Wiggins and the rest of the Cavs’ youngsters.

“The best player comes to your team, it’s going to be a great learning experience for me to play alongside the best in the game,” Wiggins said.

As far as the positional switch, no one seems concerned. Wiggins quickly agreed Friday he now sees himself as a shooting guard and Blatt said the differences between the two in his system are minimal.

“I really believe and appreciate players who can pass, dribble and shoot,” Blatt said. “The guys I’ve coached have been interchangeable in terms of position.”

It’s only summer league, but the media swarm surrounding the Cavs after their debut game Friday, one team official joked, rivaled that of the Eastern Conference finals. And James isn’t even in Las Vegas.

That’s the way it will be all season. James’ return has obviously refocused the NBA world back on Cleveland, but his presence will also lessen the burden on those around him.

Kyrie Irving has struggled at times with all of the attention focused on him off the court. Now the media crush Wiggins was expected to endure, given his status as the No. 1 overall pick, will be dimmed by James. That’s just fine with the rookie.

“It’s all going to be on him,” Wiggins said before catching himself. “Not all on him. He has backup. We can be a team that can improve every day.”

Wiggins certainly will still see time at small forward. One of the Cavs’ objectives for this season is to reduce the load he is forced to carry. James is consistently among the league leaders in minutes played, but the Heat tried unsuccessfully to reduce James’ minutes for years.

“I would think for a guy like Andrew,” Blatt said, “to play with arguably one of the best players of all time, and to learn from him and be tutored by him and play alongside him — which he will in many cases — I’ve got to think that’s a tremendous boost to his confidence, to his comfort level and probably to his motivation to be even better.”

Comments

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 5 months ago

Im not even sure why the twolves are even asking for wiggins in a trade for love. Are you serious its clear nobody wants to play there. Not to mention love doesnt play defense and wiggins is a two way threat. Pair wiggins with bron and irving and thats gonna sell a lotta tickets highlights for days!!!! #rockCHALK

John Randall 4 years, 5 months ago

You might want to read the article you are commenting on – the Cavs and Twolves are not talking … Besides, on a rookie contract, a player has no say in any trade.

Jim Erickson 4 years, 5 months ago

Hate to say this, but they should trade Wiggins for Love. Cleveland has an elite PG and obviously James is an elite SF. They need a true big man who can rebound and score. Waiters is a good SG, which makes Wiggins as a SG a luxury and not a necessity. If you can trade Wiggins and get an elite PG, SF, and PF on the floor for the next 4-5 years, you have to take that trade. Irving, James, and Love would have to be the favorite to win multiple championships over the coming years. With Irving, Wiggins, and James they lack dominant big men. I love Wiggins, but I still think for their roster Love is the upgrade.

Sean Lancaster 4 years, 5 months ago

Why trade your #1 pick when you can sign Love a year later without trading anyone? Don't give away a potential future all star if you can keep the player and get the one you want. Love has the bargaining power with Minnesota since Love can just walk after this season. Minnesota would be lucky to get mediocrity for Love at this point.

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

I think you're right and wrong at the same time. The situation must be analyzed looking forward, which includes some uncertainty. If the only way to get a deal done for Love is to trade Wiggins, then it's fair to say Love is the better player right now. He's the proven player. And there's no question marks in what you're getting when you bring him on board: an all-star caliber player. But we don't know for sure that the situation is either/or. I've heard reports that Cleveland may even be trying to get a multiple-team trade going, offer cash, draft picks, or any combination of these to acquire a nucleus of James, Irving, Love and Wiggins. But if by trades CLE can accomplish this, then they should NOT trade Wiggins as you suggest.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 5 months ago

If Cleveland really wants Love, then they will end up making the trade for him before the T-Wolves can trade him to Golden State. T-Wolves wanted Golden State to package Klay Thompson and GS didn't want to deal him, surely Cleveland can offer Minn something as good or better than Klay Thompson without having to deal Wiggins.

Even if no trade is made, Love still could be had in free agency next year, though if GS deals Klay Thompson and gets Love, then GS would be able to offer the max contract to Love and it would be harder to bring him to Cleveland for less money. However, Cleveland could sign him as a free agent on a 1 year deal, so that he could reneg for a max contract after the NBAs new TV contract elevates the salary cap.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 5 months ago

CLE does not need to give up Wiggins since Love will be a free agent next year. Mil will want to get something for him. My bet is CLE gets Love and only gives us a secondary player and draft pick(s).

Much like what Mario fell into at Miami, Wiggins has a great opportunity to learn and make his mark in the NBA on championship quality teams.

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 5 months ago

Minnesota will have to trade love by the deadline next season because he will force their hand. It will come down to who offers the best deal for him.

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