NBA / Jul 21, 2014 / 1:30 pm

Mike Krzyzewski: “I’d Trade For Kevin Love”

Kevin Love

Kevin Love (Mark Rebilas, USATODAY)

The decision for legendary Duke University and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is an easy one: If he were the Cleveland Cavaliers, he’d trade for Kevin Love without “one second of hesitancy.”

Love played under Coach K on the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympic Teams, winning two gold medals and establishing himself as a fixture of USA Basketball in the process. In an interview on The John Feinstein Show, Krzyzewski made compelling points for his case that Cleveland should trade for Love even if it means sacrificing Andrew Wiggins.

“He’s a double-double guy, but he’s a double-double guy that can spread the court,” Krzyzewski said. “There aren’t many double-double guys, if any, who spread the court. He can go inside and outside. There may be a low-post player that gets you a double-double, but Love does it and you can do a lot of different things with him.”

Love’s offensive fit with LeBron James and the Cavs would be seamless. No big man in the league save for Dirk Nowitzki stretches the floor better than Love, a crucial influence on a team with a dominant post-player like LeBron and multiple penetrators. A pick-and-roll featuring Love and either James or Kyrie Irving as ballhandler would be among basketball’s most deadly, too.

But it’s Cleveland’s timeline that makes swapping Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and anything else for Love most defensible. James isn’t getting any younger, and Wiggins is several years away from approaching his prime – at 25 years-old, Love is right in the thick of his own.

“You look at LeBron and you have the best player in the world,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s 29. I’m not saying he’s at the end of his career, but he’s in the second half of his career, let’s put it that way. And in the first half of his career, he was becoming a great player. He was a great talent becoming a great player. That takes time – just like if Wiggins or Bennett are going to be great, it’s not going to happen right now. They’re great talents. LeBron is a great player right now. You do not want to waste any year of a great player’s career.”

Wiggins is expected to sign his rookie contract with the Cavaliers this week, which would preclude him from being traded for 30 days. That turn of events doesn’t necessarily speak to Cleveland’s final decision with regard to Love, though. Unless the Golden State Warriors trump the Cavs’ potential offer of Wiggins and flotsam by including Klay Thompson in theirs, the market for Love will likely remain stagnant. The Minnesota Timberwolves should be content holding out for the best possible trade package before mid-February’s deadline, and have even said they’re comfortable hanging onto Love all season long.

It’s been suggested by some in league circles that Cleveland coach David Blatt prefers players with Wiggins’ elite athleticism and defensive potential to offensive-minded ones like Love. There’s nothing on the record to confirm that sentiment, but Krzyzewski feels differently with respect to this specific situation.

It’s easy to see both sides of the Love-Wiggins debate; there might not be a wrong answer here. Coach K, however, clearly disagrees.

Would you trade for Love if it meant giving up Wiggins?

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  • Bob Fusky

    No way. I’d take the Cavs just as they are now over a team with Love and no Wiggins. Right now the Cavs are a title contender and probably the best team in the East: http://straighthoops.com/beast_of_the_east.html

  • 2cents

    On the money.

  • 2cents

    Say Jack – you said no other big stretches the floor, other than Dirk, but I’d actually counter that Bosh has done an amazing job reinventing himself to be in that statement as one of the best two-way double double big men who can stretch the floor.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Looks like this isn’t changing the minds of those that won’t respect Love. Shocker.

    Coach K must not know what he’s talking about.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Bosh isn’t a double double guy anymore, due to his “reinvention” the last couple years. He averaged 6.6 rebounds a game on a team that needed them badly. Lebron averaged more rebounds than Bosh.

  • 2cents

    Yeah you caught me out with my “double double” statement, but I think Bosh still has the ability to stretch the floor as well as Dirk or Love. It’s part of what made the Heat so successful.

  • Bob Fusky

    me or the article? lol

  • Bob Fusky

    There’s a good piece on SH today analyzing the Love for Wiggins deal and why it’s a bad idea. interesting points, def worth the read: http://www.straighthoops.com/whats_love_got_to_do_with_it.html

  • 2cents

    You Sir.

  • ??c Thành Tr?n

    But Bosh is not consistent outside therefore causes him to he out of the equation.