Monday, December 11, 2017
Sports

Reports: Cavaliers trade for Love, create own 'Big 3'

LeBron James and Kevin Love won Olympic gold together. They're about to team up again, this time to try and end Cleveland's 50-year title drought.

Love will soon be on his way from Minnesota to Cleveland after the teams reached an agreement in principle to a trade that will send the All-Star forward to the Cavaliers for this year's No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round pick, according to multiple reports Thursday.

The trade cannot be official until Aug. 23, one month after Wiggins signed his rookie contract.

Yahoo Sports reported that the Cavs have a "firm agreement" that Love will opt out of his contract and sign a five-year, $120 million deal with Cleveland next summer. There had been speculation the 6-10 forward might want to cash in during his free agent year when salaries are expected to rise under a new TV deal. There were also questions about the length of Love's commitment because James is signed only for two years and can opt out next summer.

The deal will unite Love, James and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in a new-look "Big 3" in Cleveland and give the city's long-suffering sports fans a realistic chance to celebrate a first title since 1964, when the Browns won the NFL title.

The Love-to-Cleveland chatter has been going on long before James announced last month he was re-signing with the Cavs.

Now in the prime of his career at 29, James is the best player in the league. Irving is 22, this year's All-Star Game MVP, and just beginning to scratch his potential. And the 25-year-old Love is coming off his best season, one in which he averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He's the top "stretch 4" — a power forward who can rebound and shoot 3s — in the game.

Durant out: Kevin Durant withdrew from the U.S. national team, the biggest loss yet for a weakening squad that will go to Spain without the leading scorer on its past two gold medal winners. "Kevin reached out to Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) and myself and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities,'' USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. His withdrawal comes less than a week after Indiana's Paul George was lost to a broken right leg and follows previous withdrawals by All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

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