CLEVELAND (AP) — Andrew Wiggins will sign his rookie contract with the Cavaliers. It’s still not clear if he’ll play for them.
A person familiar with the negotiations says the Cavs will sign the No. 1 overall pick to his deal, an agreement that would prevent any potential trade involving the small forward from being completed for 30 days.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cavaliers have been discussing a potential deal that would send All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Cavaliers for Wigging, Anthony Bennett and other pieces. The person familiar with the talks says Wiggins will sign with Cleveland as early as Wednesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting on its plans.
The Cavs and Timberwolves have had ongoing discussions about a trade for Love since before Cleveland selected Wiggins first in May. The Timberwolves have always insisted that Wiggins be involved in any package, a stipulation the Cavaliers initially resisted.
To help in their pursuit of Love, the Cavs traded guard Carrick Felix to Utah on Tuesday for three players with non-guaranteed contracts.
Cleveland acquired guard John Lucas III and forwards Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy from the Jazz in exchange for Felix, a second-round draft pick and cash considerations.
The trade will allow the Cavs to clear $3.3 million in salary cap space, room to potentially sign Love or other players.
Wiggins’ inclusion in any deal has been a sticking point for the Cavs.
Last week, two people familiar with the discussions said the team was not willing to include Wiggins in a deal. But as talks continued this week, the Cavaliers have softened their stance on including Wiggins, who played well during the team’s summer league in Las Vegas, to try and get superstar LeBron James another veteran All-Star teammate.
The Cavs have considered acquiring Love and teaming him with James, who recently announced he was returning to Cleveland and signed a two-year, $42.1 million deal with the team. With Love, James and All-Star point guard, Cleveland would have a “Big 3” comparable to what Miami had in James and All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Timberwolves have also had discussions with the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, among other teams, in recent weeks as they entertain offers for Love, who can opt out of his contract next summer and has told Minnesota he wants to play for a contender.
Signing Wiggins to a contract wouldn’t necessarily prevent a trade from eventually happening. Under league rules, Wiggins cannot be officially traded for 30 days after he signs. But the Timberwolves and Cavaliers could come to some sort of agreement before that end date and then execute the trade after the window closes.
Signing Wiggins could make a trade easier to complete. League rules require teams that are at or over the salary cap to exchange packages of similar dollar values when they make trades. Before Wiggins signs a deal, he has a contract of $0, so his inclusion does not help the Cavaliers get closer to the $15.7 million value they would receive with Love’s contract.
But when he does sign, Wiggins will have a value of around $5.5 million, which would get the Cavaliers a big step closer to the 80 percent of Love’s contract that they need to reach to make any deal conform to league rules.
Having to wait that long to finalize a deal does complicate the negotiating process, with both teams leery of the other backing out during that monthlong moratorium.
If the Timberwolves and Cavaliers do come to an agreement, the trade could evolve into a three-team deal. The Wolves have been searching for another team to bring another established, veteran player to the package while potentially moving guard J.J. Barea or other contracts to create room for the incoming players.
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