Reports keep surfacing about the Cavaliers remaining 'confident' that they are the front-runners to land Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves. But is Cleveland confident because the trade has already been agreed upon by the two parties? Bill Simmons provides his conspiracy theory on the matter.
According to sources, the Cavaliers are the favorite to land Kevin Love in a trade, but if that's going to happen Cleveland needs to wait 30 days because they officially signed Andrew Wiggins yesterday. NBA rules require such a window of time before a newly signed player can be dealt. The apparent deal on the table right now is Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a 2015 first-round pick for Love.
If Wiggins were to be involved in the trade, the Cavaliers needed to sign him anyway in order to send over salaries that come in the range of Love's $15.7 million price tag for next season, or else the Wolves would have merely received Wiggins' rights. The former Kansas Jayhawk's salary is now set at $5.5 million for next year, and Anthony Bennett's is just above $5.5 million as well. And although it seems like this is standard protocol, Bill Simmons, the editor-in-chief of Grantland.com and NBA Countdown co-host, is dubious of the whole trade, as well as LeBron James' return to Cleveland.
"I think this Kevin Love trade to Cleveland was already decided as part of the deal for LeBron to come back to Cleveland," said Simmons Wednesday morning on ESPN Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd. "I don't know this. I wouldn't bet my life on it. It's just like one of those gut-feeling conspiracy theories."
Simmons particularly points to the letter LeBron wrote to announce his free agency decision on July 11 that Sports Illustrated first reported. In the letter, which Simmons says James had 'at least' two days to write, James mentions how he's "excited to lead some of these talented young guys" on the Cleveland Cavaliers' roster. He mentions Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters, but eerily left out the Cavaliers' first overall picks in the two previous drafts, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. However, it was reported afterward that leaving these two players out of the letter was an 'oversight.' But Simmons isn't buying the excuse because these two players that were left out of the letter are also the centerpieces in the current trade talks for Kevin Love.
"I don't believe in oversights when you're spending that much time writing a letter and mentioning players on a team," added Simmons. "It makes me think that the deal was already agreed on and they didn't want people to think that LeBron would only go back to Cleveland if they also traded for Kevin Love."
Simmons has a point, as the NBA and/or Cleveland may have been inclined to avoid having LeBron appear as the 'villain' again, which he was deemed after he left Cleveland in 2010 to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. However, at first Cleveland was unwilling to include Wiggins in the trade for Love, but then quickly changed their stance when the Golden State Warriors considered offering Klay Thompson in a deal for Love, who the Timberwolves expressed interest in while speaking with the Warriors about a potential trade. But that notion is likely moot as well because Cleveland won the NBA draft lottery on May 20 and had over a month to ponder who they were going to choose (and it was likely Wiggins all along).
Nonetheless, no one will ever know, but it's an interesting thought to consider moving forward, especially if the Cavaliers manage to acquire Kevin Love next month and no other teams make a big push for him within the next 30 days.