“The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You that way: we this way.” — Armado
Kevin Love to the Cavs for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick. That’s the melancholy news greeting Warriors fans this morning.
In truth, I don’t think the Warriors had a chance the moment that Andrew Wiggins was offered. Even if Flip truly preferred Klay Thompson — and there are sound basketball reasons to think he might have — his owner Glen Taylor would never have let him take Klay over Wiggins. Too many season ticket sales, too many marketing dollars at stake. Wiggins is the player to excite the fanbase, to fill the near-empty Target Center; not Klay.
We already learned this lesson in Warriors land, with the competition between Klay and The Brand, Harrison Barnes. Was it only a year ago that 99% of Warriors fans and media regarded Barnes as The Anointed One, and Klay as the red-headed stepchild? Not to mention the Warriors PR department.
The Wolves haul is good but not great. I think Bennett will be flipped to the perpetually tanking 76ers for Thaddeus Young. The Wolves will continue to try to win, if only to pacify Ricky Rubio, whom they hope (forlornly) to re-sign. They are trapped in basketball purgatory: neither good enough to win, nor bad enough to tank. While Wiggins projects to be something Harrison Barnes will never be, a good wing defender, I don’t see him having an impact rookie year. Nor may he ever — he’s got a long way to go.
There is one major difference between this Kevin Love trade situation and the trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks that I failed to consider in my previous analysis. Waiting to the trade deadline to make the deal paid major dividends for the Nuggets. And they didn’t give a damn whether or not it pissed Melo off. I expected the Wolves to follow the Nuggets’ script.
But while the Nuggets’ patience was rewarded by a gigantic haul of good veteran players, they didn’t get a marquee name. Danilo Gallinari was the star of the group.
The Wolves, by contrast, are getting a number one draft pick, and “potential superstar,” in Andrew Wiggins. Even if they might have gotten a sweetened deal by waiting, they had a huge incentive to land Wiggins not just before the season, but well before the season.
Season ticket sales.