Ed note: This is a submission from Nick Robinson, who has been a periodic contributor to this site.
BY NICK ROBINSON
Well, Wolves Nation, say one final goodbye to Kevin Love. What a run… NOT. Let’s thank David Kahn for this, literally. Thank the knuckle push-ups. We can think “What could have been?” or “What if he stuck it out a few more years?” No, this is the right move for this franchise. This team gets a lot better, a lot faster, more athletic, and younger. Can you complain about any of those? Obviously, trading your cornerstone player isn’t ideal, but Minnesota gets the best prospect in the NBA today. Many scouts proclaim he has the highest ceiling for a player since LeBron James. Now, I am not comparing Wiggins and James, but there arguably hasn’t been this much hype surrounding a player since him. Were the Wolves going to make a splash in the playoffs WITH Kevin Love this season? Probably not. The Suns got a lot better, and almost made the playoffs, not to mention the Pelicans and Mavericks. No other team is likely to drop off.
I’m an optimist, but this team needs to grow, and Rubio needs to show he can score. This year, the Wolves brought in Ryan Saunders as a new assistant. Sure, that may be just because his dad is head coach, but he played a good role in the development of John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington and they are now a solid contender in the east. Hmmmmmmm, interesting: Wiggins, Shabazz, Dieng, LaVine, potentially Bennett, Hummel and GR3 are all either rookies or sophomores? I like the odds that Saunders helps at least some of these guys reach their potential. And all of this, years from now, could result in Wiggins be the new face of the franchise with a solid supporting cast. Wiggins should use this trade as motivation to prove Cleveland and all his doubters wrong. Now, recently being reported, is that Thad Young will be sent to Minnesota for some combination of Anthony Bennett (though that is looking unlikely), expiring contracts and the first round pick received from Cleveland via Miami. If Minnesota can sign Young to a longer contract, I love this core. This team gets a lot better now, and in the future.
Young averaged just short of 18 points for game, a key addition for a team lacking a scoring punch in Love’s absence. You move a starter from last season, Corey Brewer, to the bench to make room for Wiggins. Dieng and Shabazz only improve this season, because they will actually play. Minnesota also gets the protected first round pick. Now, whether that’s going to the 76ers, who knows. But lets say, Minnesota keeps it. Miami, the owner of that pick, should be in a down year. They will probably make the playoffs, but I mean, is Wade going to stay healthy? I see them as a low seed in the lowly Eastern Conference. Maybe not even that. So, that pick is in the high teens or twenties, along with the Wolves’ own pick, which will probably be lottery. I hate always saying ‘give it a year’, or ‘the future is bright’. With Andrew Wiggins, how can you not say the future is bright? This trade could be great, IF Wiggins pans out and that draft pick can become a solid contribution. But first, kudos to you Mr. Flip Saunders, you got a highly coveted player in Wigggins. Not to mention, potentially a proven player in Young, and a first round draft pick, all for Kevin Love, who was going to leave no matter what. They said Flip had no leverage. They said he wasn’t going to get any value. Sticking to his guns and saying the right things, will benefit this organization. Hopefully we see that smiling face a lot around the Twin Cities for years to come. Keep holding on Wolves fans, I think our time is coming sooner than you think.
You can follow Nick Robinson on Twitter at twitter.com/RobinsoNick2013.