Wetmore: This whole Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins situation is awkward
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One word best describes it. This whole Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins thing is awkward.
The deal seems publicly anyway to have an air of inevitability to it. [UPDATE: The teams have a handshake deal in place, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.] And yet the 19-year-old Wiggins has to tip-toe around and choose carefully what he says. So does another 19-year-old, Zach LaVine. Meanwhile, Kevin Love and LeBron James have remained mostly silent.
Love went on SportsNation to make it abundantly clear he would be leaving Minnesota. It's also easy to read into the fact that he hasn't quashed any rumors publicly. James said in his essay announcing his return to Cleveland that he wouldn't be holding a press conference, and would prefer instead to get to work, which is noble. We don't expect James to talk publicly at this point, but consider this string of uncomfortable facts and occurrences:
1. James apparently hasn't spoken with Wiggins. More than three weeks after James made his "Coming home" announcement in an essay in Sports Illustrated, the team's leader with a stated ambition to be a mentor hasn't reached out to the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft?
"No. I'm sure he's busy," Wiggins was quoted as saying in the New York Post. "I feel like I'm busy, so I am sure he's busy."
James may keep a hectic schedule but in 24 days not one phone call, text or tweet?
Even that rhetorical question misses the larger point: that Wiggins is paraded out needing to answer these questions as part of the song and dance. Even when...
"I'm saying it's most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that's what he wants to do," Taylor told the Pioneer Press.
Taylor's preference, though, is that Love remain in Minnesota. The August dates for a trade are because that's when the Cleveland Cavaliers officially can deal their first-round draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, to the Wolves.
The NBA has a rule that rookies cannot be traded within 30 days of signing a contract. So we wait.
3. On ESPN, Wiggins was asked if he thought the Cavaliers wanted him. His answer was sent around the internet in part, probably, because of the awkward timing in his response -- "Yeah. I'd hope so." -- but also in part because of the dramatic irony of it all.
"I just want to play for a team that wants me," Wiggins said in the interview. "So, whichever team wants me, I'll play for."
More from the Post:
"It hasn't been too tough," Wiggins said Sunday of dealing with all of the uncertainty. "You have to prepare yourself for it, and then it isn't too tough.
"You just have to get used to everything."
4. Here's video of the SportsCenter interview, which pretty well encapsulates the ordeal. Wiggins appears uncomfortable and needs to tip-toe his way through vague answers to avoid saying the wrong thing. That's a tough spot for him to be in.
5. Another rookie, high-flying Zach LaVine has been put in an awkward spot, too. On a draft-night conference call with reporters, LaVine mentioned Ricky Rubio as a player he's excited to play with, but he didn't mention Love.
In an interview with Dime Magazine, LaVine tip-toed around Love questions but talked freely about the potential of playing with Wiggins, a player currently under contract with another team.
Dime: How much of a distraction have the Kevin Love rumors been?
LaVine: People ask me all the time, but I hope he comes back because he's one of the best players in our league right now. But I definitely have just been focusing on myself and try and get better and do the best I can. I don't think it's a distraction. He'll do what's best for him and his career.
Dime: You mentioned you and Andrew Wiggins are buddies. If the trade happens, how excited will you be for him to join you in Minnesota?
LaVine: That would definitely be a very exciting team, I know that. He's a hard worker, and he'll bring a lot of excitement to Minnesota.
To many, a trade seems inevitable. The late-August timetable makes sense. In the interim, the lack of clarity strikes a strange note.
Perhaps the sides simply are waiting for the 30 days to pass so the Cavs can trade Wiggins. In the meantime, we wait, awkwardly.