LeBron James' decision to head home brings uncertainty for Andrew Wiggins


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

After a 10-day wait that was magnified into feeling like 10 years because of the 24-hour news cycle, we found out Friday that LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland after four years, four trips to the Finals and two titles in Miami.

None by Sports Illustrated

After the inevitable reactions of 'Wow, he really did it,' from basketball fans around the world, the first thing that likely came to the minds of KU basketball fans was this: What does that mean for Andrew Wiggins?

The short answer? Wiggins probably should not get too comfortable in those Cleveland duds. He may be on the move via the trade winds and it may be happening very quickly.

Not only does LeBron hold down the majority of the minutes and stats at the small forward position, but there's strong speculation that veteran shooting guard Ray Allen will follow James to Cleveland, which would crowd up things at the 2-guard spot, too. The shooting guard spot is the place Cleveland management seems to think Wiggins will ultimately succeed and bringing on Ray Allen doesn't kill that idea but it adds quality depth and allows them to explore the idea of adding big man help.

There's been some talk in the past week about the Cavs possibly moving Wiggins, last month's No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, to Minnesota in exchange for all-star big man Kevin Love.

None by Marc J. Spears

If Love will go (and why wouldn't he?) and the Timberwolves are OK with getting Wiggins in return for a guy they'd probably lose anyway (and why wouldn't they be?), then this is something that could happen in a hurry.

The first reports from NBA insiders were that the Cavs have already offered Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick to Minnesota for Love, but the general belief there is that such a package won't be enough and the T'Wolves will demand that Wiggins is included in any deal they do.

Perhaps the biggest sign that it might be in the works comes from James himself, who, in an essay penned at, talked about the Cavs' roster and did not mention Wiggins. It's possible the former Jayhawks' omission was simply out of respect for the process since Wiggins has not yet signed with Cleveland, but there's also a better than good chance that James knows something about Cleveland's willingness to explore moving Wiggins to bolster the roster.

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

"LeBronWatch" might be over but "WigginsWatch" is just beginning.

Welcome to the NBA, Andrew.

Read LeBron's full essay about heading home to Cleveland here.


Andy Tweedy 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for that, much closer to Omaha so I could actually see him play in person and tell my wife we're going there for the Mall of the Americas!

Gregor Southard 7 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Lebron say on multiple occasions last year that he was a big fan of Wiggins and that they kept touch on Twitter? Or am I remembering wrong?

Andrew Horigan 7 years, 6 months ago

I think I do remember James saying he was a big fan of Wiggns, but that doesn't mean that they are compatible on the same team. They play the same position and Cleveland can get much more for their team with Love starting rather than having Wiggins off the bench. Plus I'm sure Cleveland's management promised Lebron a strong chance of playing with Love, which I'm sure was enticing to Lebron, by giving Wiggins to Minnesota. Which may also be the reason he left Wiggins' name out of that essay.

Jeremy Wilhelm 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't see Wigs playing much 3 and very little at 4 in the NBA, where Lebron plays most (whenever he isn't point forward. I see Wigs at the 2 most of the time, and maybe at the 3 when they go small.

Andrew Horigan 7 years, 6 months ago

I could see Wiggins playing 2, but I think most NBA teams are gonna want him at the 3. His height and poor ball handling skills at the moment may scare some teams away from him playing the 2, plus he was money when he was on, but very cold when his shot wasn't falling. If the Cavs get another shooting guard in Allen like some are reporting that they want to do, it seems very crowded in Cleveland. But you could very well be right and Wiggins develops into a freakishly athletic shooting guard.

Ryan Donovan 7 years, 6 months ago

If 2 is his niche, he'd be able to learn from Ray Allen (who is 38) and eventually move into starting role in a year or two when Ray retires (or otherwise moves on)

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Lebron also wanted Shabazz Napier to go to Miami. I hope they do not trade Wiggins because his game could grow immensely under the tutelage of Lebron and experienced guys that go to Cleveland to play with him. In Minnesota, he has a few years until he hits free agency and takes his talents elsewhere lol.

Nathan Scholl 7 years, 6 months ago

No offense to the fine people of Minnesota intended, but the Minnesota Timberwolves are the NBA's graveyard. It would be the absolute WORST place for Wiggins to end up (besides Sacramento). I know the NBA is a business and that's how it works, but Andrew won't have any leaders or winners to help him grow I am afraid. Siggh. Can't feel too bad for a millionaire, but he's going to have to be the best player ever for them to have a shot at a winning season and/or ever making the playoffs. We'll see. That being said, LeBron's essay was classy (he's obviously grown up a lot in the four years since the "taking his talents to South Beach" news conference and the jersey burnings) and I respect his decision to go home.

David Meredith 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree, hard to see Minnesota having much of a shot.. in the strong Western Conference... of course Cleveland would have been a similar situation, if not for Lebron... but wherever you play, if you become a star, you can pick your location after your rookie contract.

Justin Lindsley 7 years, 6 months ago

You never know. Lebron mentioned Waitors in his letter. Now there are reports that he is on trading block for Love. I'm sure Cavs really want to keep Wiggins, but they very likely are going to have to part ways with him to get someone like Love. I hope he gets to stay. What better situation for him.

Lebron will be double teamed, that leaves people open. Plus Wiggs can learn so much from Lebron. It could be the difference between unbelievable success for Wiggs or failure.


John Fitzgerald 7 years, 6 months ago

Let's just hope the Bulls bypass Melo and start hunting for Love with a larger contract, and the Knicks seal the deal on Melo. And hope the Heat offer up some big cash for Wade and Allen to stay. If that all happens, Wiggins stays. But I'm afraid if it doesn't, he's going to have to go somewhere, and it won't be a desired destination. Unfortunately, most NBA players face uncertainty and that's just the name of the game. All I want is for Wiggins to play for a team I can root for. Can't root for Minnesota, they just aren't good enough or exciting enough.

David A. Smith 7 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins needs to have a shot at stardom, and creating his own legacy. That, IMHO, will happeb somewhere other than Cleveland. However, the point that Lindsley made about mentoring could prove to be an amazing opportunity- if Lebron took that role on with Wiggs. We shall see.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 6 months ago

This news is not at all surprising and has been rumored around CLE for the past 2 months. On earlier post regarding the draft, I posted CLE needed to go with Embiid with James coming on board. The foot injury through a wrench in all the plans. CLE will need to get Love.

Joe Ross 7 years, 6 months ago

Good post Suzi! Cleveland may now have a case of draft remorse, but they couldn't have known for sure that James would stage a homecoming a draft night. Still, if they could have had Embiid, there would have been the makings of a team that was solid at near every position, and "maybe" a World Champion.

Greg Lux 7 years, 6 months ago

I would bet if CI offered Wiggins for Embiid to Philly they would take it in a second.. so that doesn't hold water ..

Todd Jones 7 years, 6 months ago

Wiggs is a 2 in the NBA. He and James will play together, watch and call me "Todd the God"!

Ryan Donovan 7 years, 6 months ago

I would tend to agree...if he can make it as a 2, then he can cut his teeth and learn from Lebron....and even if Ray Allen comes, Ray is 38 and won't be playing ball much longer.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Ray Allen is a backup at this point in his career if he does go to Cleveland, but his leadership could be invaluable for Wigs.

Ryan Donovan 7 years, 6 months ago

Other sites are stating that Wiggins' camp has gone on record as saying that the would NOT be moved...not for Love or anyone else.

Eric Dawson 7 years, 6 months ago

ESPN is reporting that Cavs say Wiggins will not be traded. The initial deal for Kevin Love that the Timberwolves wanted included Wiggins, and ESPN is saying the Cavs said no.

Michael Bennett 7 years, 6 months ago

I actually think LeBron will make Wiggins look a lot better; I think LeBron's top-notch skillset and facilitating abilities will make up for Andrew's deficiencies and help him produce a lot. Same goes for having Kyrie at the point. If the Cavs don't get Love I think we'll see a lot of LeBron at the 4 with Andrew at the 3 in small-ball setups. Wiggins might even complement LeBron better than Love me crazy...

Joe Ross 7 years, 6 months ago

Doesn't look like Wiggins is going anywhere.

Joe Ross 7 years, 6 months ago

There's been a report which quotes a "Cav Source" that says Wiggins is staying in Cleveland. I guess it depends on who you believe.

Shannon Gustafson 7 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins played in the Cavs summer league game today (and had 18pts), since he played for them, he's now signed and can't be traded for 30 days, if they want to do so. Looks to me like Wiggins is staying in Cleveland. If he wasn't, they would have held him out of this game (as was being speculated earlier today before Cleveland said he would play).

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 6 months ago

You dont trade FOR KEVIN LOVE ARE YOU CRAZY???????? Cleveland has to too look at the bigger picture and that is wiggins along side james and 3 COUNT EM 3FIRST ROUND PICKS NEXT YEAR!!!!!! The cavs can uses hose picks to draft young front court help or package them in a trade but you dont five up a generational player for a kevin love even though love is good the cavs gotta understand that the east is gonna get real good here in the next 5 years and they better be preparing themselves to deal with the weapons of mass destruction philly is quietly building on the eastern seaboard wirh noel and embiid not to mention the pelicans withdavis and this greek kid in milwalkee cleveland needs to stock up now while they can

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

If I am Cleveland I sit tight this year and wait. There is some young talent there and they have draft picks the following year. Let it play out, grow and see where the true weaknesses are on that team. Maybe draft night next year they move up to get a quality big man or trade picks to get a player. For now, let it ride, get a few experienced free agents like Ray Allen and/or Mike Miller and then see. The key here is patience and see how the team comes together and go from there. Players now are interested in coming to Cleveland so the advantage is theirs if they play this smart.

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