Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in St. Paul, Minnesota, reported Tuesday the Cavaliers are demanding Andrew Wiggins and other assets in return for Irving. Wolfson added the two teams remain far apart in negotiations.
Minnesota is one of the four teams ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes listed as Irving’s favorites as he looks for a trade out of Cleveland.
An Irving trade with Wiggins as the headliner makes sense for the Cavaliers. He’d simultaneously help the team in the short term and provide a building block for the future should LeBron James leave in free agency next summer.
The deal would make less sense for Minnesota, which just signed Jeff Teague to a three-year, $57 million contract. While Irving would represent an upgrade over Teague at point guard, the Timberwolves would have to factor in the depth they’d likely sacrifice in order to facilitate the trade.
Irving is also two years away from free agency, whereas Wiggins is due for a contract extension that could keep him with the team for five years. The 22-year-old told Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Golliver that he’s seeking a max contract, which could be worth $148 million.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said the team intends to make Wiggins a part of its future.
“First of all, I think he likes it here, we like him, he can get the very best contract from me, better than he can get from anyone else,” Taylor said, per the Star Tribune‘s Sid Hartman. “I don’t think we have any trouble of offering him the max anyway.”
The arrival of Jimmy Butler in a draft-night trade with the Chicago Bulls sped up Minnesota’s timeline for contention and raised the team’s expectations in 2017-18.
The franchise should be wary, though, of thinking too much in the short term at the cost of the Timberwolves’ long-term future.
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