Andrew Wiggins

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons have agreed in principle to a three team trade that will send forward Kevin Love to Cleveland, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and the Cavaliers protected 2015 first-round draft pick to Minnesota and Anthony Bennett to Detroit, according to reports. 

For the past month, trade talks have been ongoing between the Cavs and the Timberwolves. Although at first Cleveland was reluctant to trade Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the Timberwolves were adamant in acquiring the potential star in a trade for Love. Bennett, despite a pedestrian rookie season in which he averaged just 12.8 minutes per game, is potentially a valuable commodity for the Pistons as the No. 1 pick of the 2013 draft has shown signs of progress recently.

On Sunday, Wiggins, very aware of trade talks involving him, indicated he was comfortable playing for any team.

“I just want to play for a team that wants me,” Wiggins told ESPN. “Whichever team wants me, I’ll play for.”

The trade, due to a minimum 30 day wait after Wiggins’ contract signing, cannot officially occur until August 23. All three teams have agreed to the trade, but no team faces any punishment should they choose to change their mind before the deal is official. The trade also comes with an agreement that Love will opt out of his current contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers for a reported five-years, $120 million. Although the exact terms have been agreed upon, the three organizations plan to stay silent until the trade is announced, according to reports.

The 25-year-old Love is coming off one of his best seasons, netting an average of 26 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The three-time All-Star received his first All-Start start this season as well, beating out Dwight Howard.

For the Timberwolves, this trade works. Love informed Minnesota that he would not be returning and would be opting out of his contract next summer. Trading the All-Star with a foot already out the door in exchange for the very talented Wiggins is about as good as a consolation prize as a team can get.

For Cleveland, acquiring Kevin Love is the icing on the cake after an amazing offseason that included the signing of four time MVP, LeBron James. Love joins James and guard Kyrie Irving to form a ‘Big 3’ in Cleveland that will be considered a favorite to win the Eastern Conference and contend for an NBA championship immediately.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill | Daily Texan Staff

After LeBron James’ and Carmelo Anthony’s decisions dominated the first part of the offseason, superstar forward Kevin Love is now the biggest player on the market.

With a year remaining on his current contract, Love has been the subject trade talks between the Minnesota Timberwolves and multiple teams this summer. In the past week, a Kevin Love for No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins with Cleveland has looked very likely. However, Wiggins signing his contract with the Cavaliers on Thursday stalls that possibility. The contract prevents any trading of Wiggins for thirty days, or until August 23.

While Cleveland is still a major player for Love, Wiggins’ new contract affords other teams an opportunity to trade for Love. The two biggest contenders outside of Cleveland are the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls.

THE FAVORITE: Cleveland Cavaliers

Though a trade cannot happen for a month, an agreement between the Cavs and Timberwolves could still occur. While an extremely talented Wiggins has future star potential, LeBron James is in the prime of his career and obviously wants to continue his streak of making the NBA Finals. James and the Cavs management are well aware of the huge impact Love could have on the team’s ability to win now. James has personally reached out to Love in an attempt to recruit him. The political capital that James has over the front office, combined with the desire to play for a title-contender in Love allows Cleveland to remain the favorite.

THE THREAT: Chicago Bulls

After missing out on Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the Bulls are still looking to solidify their chances at winning an Eastern Conference Championship. Chicago has now set its sights on acquiring Love, engaging in trade talks with the Timberwolves. In order to entice Minnesota into making a trade, Chicago’s front office will have to make an offer big enough to pull the Timberwolves away from their apparent favorite, Wiggins. Surely, Minnesota will examine every available option before dealing away Love to Cleveland, giving the Bulls an opportunity to snatch Love away.

THE DARKHORSE: The Golden State Warriors

Reports earlier in the summer indicated that Minnesota and Golden State came very close to a deal; however, the Warriors and Timberwolves never came to an agreement. If the Warriors have any regrets, they have the next thirty days to try to put together a deal that Minnesota will agree to. However, it still seems unlikely that the Warriors will trade away guard Klay Thompson, who the Timberwolves seem to be mandating before they consider a trade.  

Of course, Love could end up staying in Minnesota, but it seems unlikely at this point that the Timberwolves would keep him. Considering the Timberwolves appear to understand that they will not be able to resign Kevin Love, a trade would allow them to turn the remaining year on his contract into a future for the franchise. 

Kansas freshman guard Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and six rebounds against Texas on Saturday. Wiggins upped his offensive production after scoring just seven in Austin on Feb. 1. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

LAWRENCE, Kan. — It didn’t take long for the blue and white wave to hit Texas. And, when it did, the swell proved too much to handle.

Led by freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins, the Jayhawks blitzed the Longhorns in the first half. A 25-2 run quickly erased an early 8-3 Longhorns lead, much like Wiggins’ play Saturday evening removed any doubts stemming from his 7-point performance earlier in the year against Texas.

Wiggins, who finished with a team-high 21 points, played a huge role in Kansas’ run. He scored 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting during the stretch and did so in convincing fashion. Wiggins connected on all three of his attempts from behind the arc and added a pair of authoritative dunks over the six-minute scoring binge.

“When I score early, it brings more confidence to my game,” Wiggins, who is projected to be a top-three pick in the upcoming NBA drafft, said. “My teammates got me the ball where I like to shoot the ball, where I needed it. I was fired up for this game.”

Wiggins’ first slam was of the two-handed variety: a dunk so ferocious it produced a deafening roar from the crowd that appeared to coax the Longhorns’ ensuing timeout. From that point forward, Texas didn’t find much success on either end of the floor.

“[With] one or two possessions, you can be down by six, eight, and [then] the game’s over just like that,” junior forward Jonathan Holmes said. “The effort was nonexistent. We tried a little at the beginning and we got some adversity and didn’t come back and fight.”

The one-sided final did not result only from Wiggins’ performance, but it played a significant role in the final outcome. The 6-foot-8 forward proved to be a huge mismatch for the Longhorns, a team without a true small forward capable of matching his blend of size and athletic ability. Texas head coach Rick Barnes searched for a solution in a mix of zone and man defense that put 6-foot-2 Demarcus Holland guarding Wiggins.

Neither matchup was successful for Texas on Saturday, as Wiggins picked apart both looks. Against the zone, Wiggins showed a deft touch from the outside, converting on 3-of-5 3-point attempts. And, when he faced man coverage, he moved to the basket for dunks and layups with ease.

Texas wanted this game, but, according to Barnes, it didn’t show the mental fortitude to win in a hostile road environment. Kansas had no such problem. Following its early loss to Texas, the Jayhawks had an extra motivation at stake.

“Our pride,” Wiggins said. “We got embarrassed [against Texas the first time] so we wanted to do the same thing to them. Take it to them and win every minute, every second on the court.”

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

When freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor entered the locker room at Saturday’s halftime, he had much to be proud of: 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

No. 25 Texas (17-4, 6-2 Big 12) had a 15-point advantage over Big 12 leader and sixth-ranked Kansas (16-5, 7-1 Big 12). But head coach Rick Barnes wasn’t convinced the effort was enough.

“[Barnes] told us that to keep the pressure up,” Taylor said. “We knew we were up double digits at half time and he just told us to keep our foot on their throat and not to let up defensively.”

So the Longhorns did. They didn’t just keep their feet on the Jayhawks’ throats — they kept their bodies between the Kansas basket and the ball. Junior forward Jonathan Holmes and sophomore centers Prince Ibeh and Cameron Ridley combined for an impressive nine second-half blocks.

“They definitely had a big lineup,” Kansas sophomore forward Perry Ellis said. “I tried to continue the attack, but we did not come with a lot of energy tonight. The loss is the result of that.”

That big lineup and energy is what sets the 2013-2014 Longhorns apart from their last season counterpart. Texas’ 41.8 rebounds on the season is up from last year, and it is now outrebounding teams by almost seven per game. On Saturday, the Longhorns swatted 12 shots and is ranked seventh in the nation in blocks per game, which allowed them to limit Kansas to .385 shooting.

“Bill Self does a terrific job getting the ball into high percentage shots,” Barnes said. “Half of their points come from in the lane and we wanted to really take that away. You can’t do that one-on-one or two-on-two; you have to do it as a group.”

Sophomore guard Demarcus Holland spearheaded the effort as he suffocated freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins fouled out with 2:33 remaining, just seven points to show for his 30 minutes on the court. He has averaged more than twice that through the season.

“On good teams, you’ve got to have that one guy that’s always in the right spot, always trying to get an offensive rebound and trying to box out a key player,” Holland said of his role on the team. “I knew he would try to be aggressive and put fouls on me to get me out of the game.”

Texas had never won four consecutive games against top 25 opponents in school history until now. But Barnes knows this stretch doesn’t guarantee much. He said he’s proud of what the team has done and earned — but half of conference play remains.

“It is such a fine line between winning and losing,” Barnes said. “If you start drinking the poison and think that you are there, it all gets away. This is one game, and I want them to enjoy it because they should. But we have a long way to go.”

Against Kansas, Texas didn’t seem to be drinking any poison. The Longhorns were just caught up in offense and letting the hype get to them. The hype motivated disciplined play and Texas showed its defense would lay the foundation for success.

But as it heads to TCU on Tuesday, Texas must be careful not to take even a sip.

Sophomore Demarcus Holland will likely draw the biggest test of any player when Texas hosts Kansas and he is matched up against Kansas freshamn sensation Andrew Wiggins. Holland has emerged as a shutdown defender for the Longhorns this season. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Not a single player on this season’s Longhorn roster knows what it feels like to play a game as a ranked team.

The last time Texas was ranked was March 14, 2011. Junior forward Jonathan Holmes was preparing to graduate from high school, sophomores Cameron Ridley and Javan Felix were in the 11th grade and breakout freshman Isaiah Taylor was still learning to drive.

That will change when the No. 25 Longhorns play host to No. 6 Kansas (16-4, 7-0 Big 12), this Saturday. After spending nearly three years outside of the rankings, Texas finally cracked the AP Top 25 this week after knocking off three top-25 teams, in three consecutive games, for the first time in school history.

“It’s a pretty big accomplishment,” Holmes said. “But our mind-set all year has been to not be content with how we are doing. We are trying to get better each day in practice. We really haven’t done anything yet.”

And what a stage for such a game. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN and will mark the first top-25 matchup at the Frank Erwin Center since the Longhorns, who were ranked No. 7 at the time, toppled No. 11 Missouri on Jan. 29, 2011.

The Jayhawks, a perennial national championship contender, are as hot as any team in the country as they roll in to Austin. Led by freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, both of whom are expected to be top three selections in this year’s NBA draft, Kansas has won seven straight to open up conference play.

Wiggins struggled to live up to the hype early on in his freshman campaign but has been very dominant lately. The lanky, 6-foot-8-inch guard, whom many have compared to former Longhorn Kevin Durant, has posted career-highs with 27 and 29 points in each of his last two games.

Guarding Wiggins may be Texas’ biggest challenge come Saturday. Wiggins’ size and speed, combined with his ability to score from anywhere, make him very difficult to match up against. Sophomore DeMarcus Holland, who has quickly developed a reputation as one of the top defenders in the Big 12, would likely be Rick Barnes’ first choice to guard the Kansas superstar. But, at 6 feet 2 inches, Holland gives up 6 inches to Wiggins, which will make it very difficult for the Longhorn guard to handle Wiggins inside. Another option would be to match Holmes against Wiggins, but that would mean finding someone else to guard Kansas forward Perry Ellis, who also stands at 6 feet 8 inches and certainly can’t be defended by a guard.

Regardless of whom Barnes decides is best equipped to shut Wiggins down, they likely won’t be left alone. A combination of zones and double-teams have worked best against Wiggins this year, and there’s no reason to believe the Texas coaching staff won’t try the same thing.