Smack, Twitter / Aug 15, 2014 / 11:15 am

Kobe Bryant Says Cavs Are Making Mistake Trading Andrew Wiggins

Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Byron Scott (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

During the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th pick, and promptly traded to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac. At the time, it seemed like a big win for the Hornets, since Divac was one of the better big men in the league and Kobe was coming out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, one of the first guards ever drafted straight out of high school to the NBA. Kobe recently compared Charlotte’s big mistake to the Cavs sending Andrew Wiggins (plus Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick) to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love, who — to be fair — is perhaps a shade more talented than Divac was at the time.

With little evidence Mamba would make it in the league, the Hornets agreed to the exchange. We all know what happened next, Kobe teamed with Shaq to win three straight titles, before winning two more teamed with Pau Gasol. Divac played well for the Hornets after the exchange, averaging 12.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 35.1 minutes a night. Still, Kobe became legend, and the Hornets will forever rue the day they made the trade. Again, it appeared one-sided at the time, but no one knew how good Kobe could be. The same thing applies with Wiggins, which is a connection Kobe made.

Here’s Kobe on the proposed trade — it still can’t be officially completed until August 23 — and it’s parallel’s with his own introduction to the league when he was moved before ever playing a game for the Hornets:

There are a couple things at play here if this is in fact what Kobe said. One, he is drastically downplaying how effective Kevin Love has been on the glass and scoring the basketball. We’ve mentioned it before, but there have only been two seasons over the last decade where a player has averaged greater than 25 points and 10 rebounds in an NBA season, and Kevin Love has both of those seasons — in 2011-12 and again last season.

Secondly, Kobe is obviously reacting a little bit to the perceived heavyweight being put together in Cleveland. After Love comes aboard, Cleveland will have a new Big Three with Kyrie Irving, Love, and LeBron James, plus a few role players (Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao) to compliment the stars; although, don’t tell Dion he’s not a star.

Kobe might just be jealous, since the Lakers lost Pau to the Bulls this year when he became a free agent and didn’t really make much of a splash in free agency.

Then again, Andrew Wiggins might go on to become Kobe Bryant 2.0, he’s certainly got the motivation. Still, we think trading for Love is the smart move by the Cavs here, since they’re acquiring a known all-star who will play his prime in Cleveland just as LeBron reaches the latter portion of his own prime.

Is Kobe right?

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  • Jonathan Thomas

    I agreed…. Wiggins would make LeBron life much better. With LBJ giving more time on offense. While Wiggins focus on defense and still scoring double figures. Cavs need more on defense. Between LBJ, Irving, Waiters, Bennett and Wiggins. They have more than enough scoring! Wiggins and Bennett could focus on more defense with their long arms and leaping ability!

  • David Garcia

    I love Kobe…but he’s still pretending that his agent did not orchestrate where he ended up. John Calipari has told the story about how he planned to take Kobe until his agent added the Nets to the teams Kobe would not play for, threatening to go to Italy. Kobe was a Laker because that was his demand.

    As for Wiggins, Bill Self’s comments confirm for me that the Cavs are 100% making the right move. Wiggins does not want the pressure of playing with top stars on a winning team and just like he showed at Kansas just wants to be a player and part of the team.

    Wiggins has the talent to be a good player but his mentality is clearly type b and he does not respond to pressure…so he will be fine in Min, filling stat lines and losing games.

  • Jonathan Thomas

    The problem you have now. They better this season. Championship or Bust year. Putting so much pressure to win the whole thing. And giving away your future. I don’t think Love will stay if they don’t win or LeBron get hurt.

  • Jeff Cain

    The writer actually said Kobe might be Jealous??? LOL… Kobe is not pouting and his opinion vastly out weighs the writer’s. Though it is still only an opinion.. He has a good point. Love has not done anything to win in this League and Wiggins has that “Could be Great” as all Rookies do. No sense comparing Love and Vlade. Different errors. And you definitely know that there might not be a Love if it were not for Vlade. Vlade was the first stretch 7 footer and took plenty of criticism at the time from writers like this. But he is now considered a trend setter..

  • Will Lenington

    I don’t think it’ll be a mistake even if Wiggins ends up being the next Jordan. It’s not like klove is going to be the best player or even the only good player on the Cavs, he’s going to immediately bolster a roster where Wiggins and Bennett wouldn’t be able to right away.

    And hey, if Wiggins does end up being the next Jordan out Kobe, then good for him, he seems like the kinda guy that’ll carry it well.

  • Jay Hill

    I said this from the jump Love avg those numbers being the only good player on a team full of NBA scrubs. Love will at best put up 15 and 10 which is okay in the east but considering you have no bench will not be good enough. Wiggins however was a steal. This guy will be what Lamar Odom should have been, and he’s much more athletic than Odom ever was. 6’8 with the ball handling skills and quickness of a SF and can jump out of the gym. IF nothing else he’s a bust and you lose nothing. But no way i’m trading all of that potential. Think you would a have a more mature Wiggins coming of the bench after all star break. They still not going to beat the Spurs though. Weak bench.

  • Nick Johnston

    I don’t think anyone expects them to win it this year. The eastern conference is weak and they expect them to dominate their conference but Love isn’t going anywhere if they don’t bring home a championship after one season. Lebron understands this and the team will follow.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Are you being serious? Love will at best get 15 and 10 this season? What could make you believe something that ridiculous? And Wiggins is like Odom? Did you ever actually watch Odom play? He was a big man with guard skills, a playmaker. Wiggins is a tall guard that lacks the playmaking. Odom could guard PFs and Cs coming out the gate (especially undersized ones). Wiggins would get eaten alive in the post by any PF or C in the league. Huge difference.

  • 2cents

    Well said Jay and my thoughts exactly. The Cavs are giving up what could be an extremely talented and deep bench, all built around LBJ + Irwing. Veterns would flock to that team.

    Spencer presents a good argument, but Love averaged those outstanding numbers on teams that never made the playoffs. I think he is good, but the Cavs won’t win a championship with him as part of their big-3.

  • dimes

    this writer is obviously a kobe hater hahaha he mentioned that kobe is jealous haha sir your a sports writer not a showbiz insider haha

  • Benny Hanna

    Kobe Bryant has actually played with both players, I’m sure he took into consideration how good they are….

  • Melvin Quinones

    Not a mistake at all. By the time Wiggins becomes a legitimate all star, Lebron would be on the decline. They need to build a championship contending team between this year and the next one. Wiggins “may” become the next big star, but there is no guarantees. With Love you know what you are getting. Good trade for Cleveland considering the circumstances.

  • W. DoubleU

    All I see is a thinly veiled attempt by Kobe to stroke his own ego. He’s like “remember what happened to me guys?! Look how great I am and how bad Divac is! Yay me!”

  • Duncan Gillespie

    No, literally the comment Wiggins made to Coach Self say the exact opposite. In Cleveland there’s no pressure to automatically produce on the offensive end, he can just sit back and be a defensive stopper while honing his offensive game, where as in Minnie he’s now the #1 scoring option, basically it’s a baptism by fire. As for not performing under pressure, so what, you’re gonna say that because he had a bad game against Stamford he’s unreliable, huh well I guess the previous 4 games without Embiid where he went for 19, 22, 30 and 41 don’t count for anything, you know, where he increased his season ppg average from 17 to 24?Or the fact that in all of his high scoring games, most of his points came in the second half after Kansas was down in the first? No Wiggins has the killer instinct, the problem is that he’ll coast and be a part of the team when they’re winning, but when they’re down ? Well the fire comes out. LeBron had the same problem up until he lost to the Mavs, then he snapped a little, being thrown to the wolves (pun intended), could very well have the same effect. You can’t lead your team in scoring and not have some of the “it” factor.

  • Mombizzo

    A LeBron fan clearly wrote this. lol kidding. But Kobe jealous? When have Kobe ever been jealous of the Heat? Which in my opinion is better than this Cavs team. I think people forget Bosh was a 22 and 11 player in Toronto, missed WAY more fewer games than Love, and made playoffs. And I think D-Wade under-played his usual game last season because he had a feeling LeBron was leaving. Love is a great player no arguing that, but he doesn’t play D, needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and shoots in high volumes, like Kyrie. Another person who needs the ball to be effective and even then he shoots more than he passes and is not a high percentage shooter. I don’t think Kobe would be jealous of that. If anything he probably can’t wait to play LeBron. Difference between Kobe and LeBron is their demeanor. I don’t think LeBron has the heart, pride, and love for the game like Kobe. Kobe never called it quits or said he’s not going to try and win a championship every yr. Yes he couldnt have won without Shaq or Gasol but with or without them, he played his heart out and never switched teams even during the hard yrs. His NBA Finals record is 5 – 2, so Kobe jealous? Probably not.

  • David Garcia

    Gotta work on those reading comprehension skills. Wiggins told Self that he wanted Minnesota because they would be patient and give him time to develop…the exact opposite of a Kobe who wanted LA, the biggest stage, wanted to start, wanted the last shot and wanted titles. If you watched him at Kansas and how he was more likely to disappear in games than try to dominate. That’s admirable…for a supporting player. So he’s better served away from the limelight and the pressure to win. He can get his stats and hope his team will carry him to victory eventually…the antithesis of Kobe.

  • David Garcia

    Maybe…who knows with the NBA guys these days. The want one city…then another. They want star teammates…then another star.

    At the end of the day, Love is a top 15 player, who can rebound AND stretch the floor, so he’s worth the shot…Wiggins could end up being great, but that’s years away…and I think he’s far more likely to be just a solid starter, not a star.

  • Chris

    Kobe’s jealous? Yes, I can see this because he’s retired with 0 rings.

  • RJ 45

    But the Hornets then did not have a LeBron type of player.

  • Collis Blake

    I wouldn’t believe anything that cheating sleaze ball Coach Cal says!

  • hokumori

    *you’re. Philippines at its finest.

  • Gredenko

    I don’t think LeBron ever had the love of the game instilled in him the way Kobe did. That much is obvious when you watch how they play and how they react to injuries, drama, bad teams, etc. Kobe wanted to be traded at one point but he forced management to make the changes necessary. I lost respect for LeBron for going to Miami even when his team wasn’t good in Cleveland, and now lost even more respect for him for leaving Miami (after promising their “fans” more than a half dozen championships) and joining another super-team in the making in Cleveland. The ignorant will pretend he’s just doing it for his old Cleveland fans, but he would never have come back if it was the same team as when he left.

  • Brian Thompson

    Uh, looks like you’re the one who needs to work on your reading comprehension. Here’s the Wiggins quote: “I hope I get traded… It’s better for me… to go somewhere [Minnesota] where I’m forced to be something as opposed to going in there [Cleveland] where they’re going to be patient with me and I’m going to be a piece.”

  • Dan Reyno

    Only time can tell if Kobe is right. Based on experience: Yes he has a point to gamble with.

  • Yash Saxena

    lol

  • prodigalphenom

    he’s jealous coz he was hoping for Love to join him..too bad with his attitude no other superstar wanted to play with him.

  • prodigalphenom

    you’re a typical kobe lover.the only team most filipino know L.A. Lakers.

  • BA1234

    Disagree. Love will be a free agent after this year. He can leave if
    things don’t work out. LBJ only has a 2 yr contract. The team basically
    has 1 or 2 years most to try to win it all. Then, back to 60 loses in a
    season because they traded away their talent. Look at the Spurs, Khawi
    dominated LBJ in the finals. Cavs need young talent to win and they
    let it go. They have no chance for a title with Love and LBJ anyway.
    LBJ had 7 years in Cleveland and never got it done. This team is weaker
    than the 2009 and 2010 Cavs and Lebron is starting to slow down. Getting Miller, Jones, and possibly old ray allen isn’t going to help. They might as well make lebron the GM. No
    rings in Cleveland.

  • Pealvin

    They already have a max deal in place so he wont be a free agent after this year.

  • Cjay

    You’re an idiot he didn’t promise them shit. They asked how many he wanted to Win. Who’s gonna say “I’ll be happy with one” ?? And Kobe forced a trade, they just refused to go thru with it. Can’t respect a quitter like that

  • malcmilli

    25 n 12 is a far cry from 12 and 9 for starters. Also, there were rumors of K.Love going to the lakers next off season. This could actually be kobe getting annoyed that Love would sign long term with Cavs.

  • Anthony McArthur Jr.

    Uh wait Kobe asked to be traded to force the Lakers hand. The Lakers could’ve traded for a few players that year but they wouldn’t give up Bynam who was underachieving. Kobe blocked the trade the Lakers had in place with the Bulls. But by showing his frustration after watching the Lakers do nothing the traded the rights of Mark Gasol and Kwame Brown and shamed Bynam into working with Kareem to bolster his game. Without demanding that trade the Lakers would’ve had 1 and a half great centers and would’ve had to trade Bynam or Mark anyway. Kobe never quits. He is an Apex Predator. The only time he quit was to prove a point when his teammates told reporters he was shooting too much and for one game he scored like 6 points and only passed they were blown out no one on the team public ally said that again.

  • John Carl James Nebab

    LBJ might be on Cleveland now until he retires, even they wont win rings but for Irving and Love. I dont think they are that loyal to stay there for a life if they wont win at least a ring.

  • John Carl James Nebab

    I disagree! Actually more Filipinos are more LBJ fan than Kobe fan. As for me, I am a Dwade fan :P

  • John Carl James Nebab

    I dont think Love will still get at least 25 and 12 next season and beyond with Lebron and the Cavs. Like when LBJ with Bosh and Wade. Irving and Love will need to sacrifice their scoring. They will be number 2 and 3 options from now on, and if they insist to play with their own terms, Cavs will be doomed like the Dwight and Kobe of the Lakers. As for Wiggins, I will not be surprise if he will make its mark in the league in his rookie season but realistically, I see him to be a superstar in 2-3 years.

  • Ronel Paglinawan

    even we love kobe, we support also other team. Like for me die hard mavericks…..

  • dimes

    dude im a lakers fan since 1998 during the shaq and kobe era and we all know the media is not a big fan of kobe thats why they always say this type of things to kobe

  • The Guy Upstairs

    Lakers or LBJ. Either/or.

  • Po Paul

    Spencer Lund, did you actually say that Kobe might be jealous? I can understand different people having different points of view for a variety of reasons, and obviously Kobe is basing his opinion, right or wrong, from his own unique experience, but jealous? That sentence alone demonstrates your lack of maturity.

  • James Nicholas

    Your a idoit.What about Kyrie Irving.Get real Cleveland will be the best team in the NBA .

  • CPBuff22

    I feel like Kevin Love was able to get those numbers with the Wolves because he was THE BEST PLAYER ON THEIR TEAM! I feel like we will see his numbers drop this season playing next to LeBron. I mean D-Wade & Bosh numbers both dropped from being the one guy to being part of a three man group. At the same time I expect Andrew Wiggins to get much more time with the ball in his hand as a member of the Wolves and I think that will actually speed up his development compared to playing in LeBron’s shadow. I do think that the Cav’s gave up far too much for Love and could have got him at the trade deadline by giving up less and having the chance to see how Wiggens worked out for them before trading him.

  • CPBuff22

    You have a point… LeBron does only have a two year contract with option to opt out next season… He could be in New York before Andrew Wiggens starts his second NBA Season.

  • CPBuff22

    The problem is they don’t have the bigs to contend with the size of the Western Conference Teams nor the Chicago Bulls. LeBron lives on forcing turnovers as does Kyrie. When you play a team that is seasoned and limits turnovers they become less effective. And if they cant stop the opponents bigs one on one they are forced to double team and that opens up shots on the arc as well as the lane for the opponents.

  • Melvin Quinones

    Wrong. No way in the world the 2009 cavs are better than this years team. They now have a good combination of youth and experience. They are still considered a young team. Much younger than Miami.

  • elvischannel

    The Cavs are being held captive by LeBron. He wants the most titles possible in the prime of his career. The side effect is a huge drop off when he’s gone. Keeping Wiggins could extend the success of the team beyond LeBron’s career, but leave it with fewer titles during LeBron’s time. With only a year guaranteed in his contract, LeBron holds all the cards–my way or I hit the highway.

  • Joe Vernola

    This article completely fails to mention that Kobe had no intentions of ever playing in Charlotte and with Jerry West more or less engineered the Divac trade on draft day.

    Charlotte didn’t make a mistake in the same sense that the Chargers didn’t make a mistake in drafting Eli Manning.

  • Steve Chavez

    Personally, I think Kobe is just making a bid for Wiggins to help the Lakers in the future. The Lakers have established that they are willing to pay and do anything they can for their premier players. I think they are looking at free agency as the best way to get better quickly because of the new CBA… and I believe that Kobe being a career Laker helps the argument and he’ll be doing things for the Lakers after he’s retired out of the same kind of loyalty that they’ve shown him. And I’m sure there’s a bit of a paycheck too. He’ll need it to cover Vanessa…

  • Ben Heyser

    TD’s got astronomically higher odds to win his 6th ring before Kobe anyway.

  • Ben Heyser

    Don’t sleep on the Bulls, man. Also, remember those teams in the West? Mavs would’ve been a 3 seed if they were in the East last year… and the team that comes out of the West will undoubtedly be the favorite to win it all. But Cavs have to get past Chicago first. (Barring another injury to Derrick Rose.)

  • Ben Heyser

    Exactly. Having seen what the Spurs just did to Miami this year in the Finals, I don’t see how the Cavs, having only a few on the roster with actual playoff experience will raise a banner next year. Wouldn’t bet my last dollar on it.

  • Ben Heyser

    Never thought about it that way…if you think about it that’s probably the same case for Anthony Davis, only he’s the real deal.

    Honestly I think if OKC gets through San Antonio (even though I’m a Spurs fans, I don’t believe they will) in the WC Finals, they could beat the Cavs. Don’t think OKC could beat Chicago in 4 out of 7 games though in the Finals.

  • SBRon

    Quitting is quitting…Kobe acted like a little girl that series!

  • Russell James

    What? Kobe has never quit in his life. You must be a Lebron fanboy. Kobe tore his Achilles, got up and sank two free throws. Kobe a quitter, hah.

  • KCTG

    Keep Wiggins let us see what he cand do, develop, get Klove freeA, have Wiggins,lebron,love,kyrie,dion

  • Frank Padilla

    Reminds me of Lamar Odom.

  • Ronald A Mitchell

    To much hype for a player who’s never been in the playoffs. Kobe has won and don’t need to be jealous of a guy who has produce nothing but stats and nothing else!

  • Ronald A Mitchell

    You call Cleveland the limelight?

  • Ronald A Mitchell

    Yea right! With that big damn gap in the middle I know you not going to depend on Kevin Love to block some shots.

  • lewismd12

    kobe jealous? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Greencar

    Wiggins and Bennett still have a lot of holes to patch in their game. Yes Kobe was good but w/o Shaq, Pau, Derek Fisher et al he would not have won a single NBA title.