CLEVELAND – 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.
Wiggins has been linked to a possible trade with Minnesota for All-Star forward Kevin Love. 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 have resisted.
Last week, two people familiar with the discussions said the Cavs were still not willing to include Wiggins in a deal. It’s not yet known if the Cavs have softened their stance on Wiggins, who played well during the team’s summer league in Las Vegas.
The Cavs have considered acquiring Love and teaming him with LeBron 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 Kyrie Irving, Cleveland would have a “Big 3″ comparable to what Miami had in James and All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
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 and then execute the trade after the window closes.
In reality, signing Wiggins may actually make a trade easier. 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 worth zero, 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.