The Minnesota Timberwolves sent Love to the Cavaliers, who capped a spectacular summer on Saturday by acquiring the All-Star power forward as another running mate for James to make them instant title contenders.
James didn’t waste any time in making Love feel at home.
“Welcome to the Land (at)kevinlove!” the four-time league MVP posted on his Twitter account.
Yes, Cleveland, a city without a major sports championship since 1964, has another new superstar.
The Timberwolves receive a bountiful return for parting with Love, the disgruntled face of their franchise. They acquired No. 1 overall draft choice Andrew Wiggins and former top pick Anthony Bennett from the Cavs and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers in the three-team deal.
The Sixers received a 2015 first-round draft choice from Cleveland – ironically, one of the ones the Cavs got from Miami for James in 2010 – and guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute from the Timberwolves, who also receive a trade exception worth about $6.3 million.
The Cavs and Timberwolves had discussed a trade involving Love for months, long before James decided to end his magnificent run with the Heat and come back home to Ohio. The deal dragged through the summer, first because of Cleveland’s unwillingness to include Wiggins, and then due to a rarely used league rule that prohibited it from being completed until 30 days after Wiggins signed his rookie contract.
Cleveland locked up Irving, last year’s All-Star Game MVP, to a maximum contract extension on the first day of free agency and then James rocked the league by announcing his return to bring a title to Northeast Ohio. Beyond that, Cleveland signed free agents Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones, veteran players with NBA titles on their resumes.
The Cavs were initially reluctant to deal Wiggins, the super-athletic small forward who spent one year at Kansas. The Timberwolves entertained offers from several other teams for Love, who can opt out of his contract next summer. But they stayed patient, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Taylor agreed last month in Las Vegas that Wiggins had to be included.
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