Cleveland’s Very One-Sided Trade for Love

When I caught wind of the news that Love was going to Cleveland, my first thought was that the league is in some serious trouble. By any metric, the Cavs now have 2 of the top 3 players on the same team in Love and Lebron. It is not going to be fair or very pretty for other NBA teams. Lebron and Love were created to be on the same team together. I looked up the trade framework and immediately felt sick. The Cavaliers gave up almost nothing to get Love, a top 3 player in the league and a player who instantly puts the title run through the city of Cleveland. How could the Timberwolves give away Love and change the face of the NBA? They couldn’t hold out for something better? The Timberwolves knew they had all the leverage and that Lebron is running the show in Cleveland, and Lebron demanded Love.


Lebron is happy his team just committed highway robbery. I know saying 3 first round picks, 2 of which are the first overall, for Love being one sided sounds ridiculous. But lets look at the absolute values of these players. Basketball Reference has an awesome statistic called “win shares” that calculates how many wins a player is worth. Lets see what value these players bring: Kevin Love – 14.3 Anthony Bennett – -0.4 Andrew Wiggins – 5.1 (more on this) 2015 protected 1st round pick – between -1.0 and 4 So, here is what we are looking at. By having Kevin Love on your team, he is giving your team 14.3 wins. That is good for third best in the league and only 1.5 behind Lebron James. To make this trade worth it, you need to get a value somewhere close to what Love gets you. Keep in mind Love is only 25. Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

Kevin Love no longer has to play with a shit sandwich for team mates. Here is what the Timberwolves got in return for Love’s immense value.

  • Anthony Bennett, who is giving you negative wins by being on your team. He was one of the worst rookies ever, for someone who played big minutes. Anthony Bennett is so bad he costs your team wins. Great.
  • Andrew Wiggins. Where did I get 5.1 for Wiggins? That is what Lebron’s win shares were his rookie year. I am giving Wiggins a HUGE benefit of the doubt by saying he will be at least Lebron James rookie good during his first season. What’s more likely? He has a win share between 3 and 4. I’m having to assume Wiggins is going to be Lebron to even make this trade make sense. Which I am not seeing, at all.
  • The first round pick Minnesota is getting will fall between 20 and 30. How valuable is this pick? Not very. It can be worth negative wins all the way to 4.0 wins. What’s more likely? About 1 win.

If you are keeping score at home, the Timberwolves are getting 9 win shares of value for Kevin Love’s 14.3. And that is the absolute BEST case scenario. More than likely, the Timberwolves will be getting about 5 win shares of value for Kevin Love’s immense value. This is a horrible trade.


Bennett is just happy to be here. He is just costing your team wins to be here. I know the trade is all about future dividends. Wiggins could become the best player in the league, but he most likely won’t. Bennett is so bad that he most likely will only have a ceiling of good role player off of the bench. And historically, the 1st round pick will become nothing more than an end of the rotation player. To recap, the Timberwolves are getting a guy who doesn’t project to be a top 10 player, a role player, and an end of the rotation guy for a 25 year old superstar who is a top 3 player in the league. This is despicable.Wiggins

The Wolves are hoping Wiggins is the next coming of Lebron. No matter how you slice it, the Timberwolves got ripped off and failed to get value from Kevin Love. Cleveland pillaged them and almost guaranteed a half decade of championship basketball. Meanwhile, the Wolves continue a historic run of incompetence. Wiggins may turn out to be great, but Wiggins would need to be once in a generation great to make up for this very one-sided trade. Don’t let all the fluff of number 1 picks fool you. This was a horrible trade that will only look worse as time goes by.   UPDATE It is rumored that the Timberwolves will be flipping Bennett to Philadelphia for Thad Young. Young is worth 3.5 wins. It would help garner extra value in the trade, but Young is who he is. It wouldn’t stop this trade from being just awful.

      • Flickr deprecated WP embed for versions beyond 3.5 in March. Some plug-ins offer a workaround, and of course I see no reason why citing the absolute path in the src wouldn’t work.

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