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June 3, 2014

Cavs draft Andrew Wiggins

Fans anxiously await more offseason action

By Kevin Liszka

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.

“All of our scouts felt he had the most upside,” Cavs general manager David Griffin told ESPN after the selection.

With the 33rd pick the team drafted Virginia guard Joe Harris and acquired the rights to Stanford forward Dwight Powell - drafted No. 45 by the Hornets - in a trade that sent Alonzo Gee to Charlotte.

At 6-8, 200 pounds and possessing a 44-inch vertical leap, Wiggins possesses elite size and athleticism that has led scouts to compare him to Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Tracy McGrady.

“There’s no way he’s Lebron or Kobe, but he’s the first Andrew. He can do some things better than those guys could,” Kansas head coach Bill Self told reporters.

“There are certain areas that he can’t do as well as they did. He just turned 19 and he is competitive,” Self said.

Andrew Wiggins introduced at Cavs presser

In one year at Kansas, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. The knock on him is that he may or may not have been playing at his fullest potential. That notion did not deter the Cavs front office.

“Andrew understands there is another level of his game we want him to get to. He knows he’s got more in the tank,” Griffin said.

The Cavs used their full allotment of time to consider their options before submitting a selection.

“We knew for quite some time who we wanted if we kept the pick,” Griffin said. “We had some really spirited debate about trade options that were available.”
One such option was rumored to be a deal to acquire All-Star power forward Kevin Love from Minnesota.

Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that the sticking point to such a deal was that Love, in the final year of his contract, expressed reluctance to extend his contract with the Cavaliers.

Later, Broussard dropped this nugget:

“Source who spoke with KLove says he would definitely ‘100 pct’ stay in Cleveland longterm if LeBron is there.”

Earlier in the week James opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat and as of July 1 officially became a free-agent.

The Cavs are among teams expected to pursue James, but James’ camp haS yet to schedule any official visits with teams.

It is widely believed James will return to the Miami Heat - for what it’s worth Vegas oddsmakers set the line at 1/6 favoring a return to South Beach - but Miami was badly exposed these NBA Finals and will have to shuffle the salaries of their ‘Big 3’ to retool their roster.

A scenario that could intrigue James, the Cavs have a young nucleus of talent in Wiggins, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters as well as the cap space to add more competent players to the roster.

Wiggins was asked about the possibility of playing with James.

“I want to win. If he wants to win, we’d be good together,” Wiggins said. “He’s a grown man. He has to follow wherever his heart is.”

Regardless as to what the future holds with or without Love or James on the roster it is good for Cleveland - not known to be a hot free-agent destination - to be in the mix for players of this caliber.

The Cavs may have already drafted their next star in Wiggins.