LeBron James and Kevin Love won Olympic gold medals together. They’re about to team up again, this time to try to end Cleveland’s 50-year championship 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 Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round draft pick, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because no official agreement can be reached until Aug. 23, when Wiggins, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, becomes eligible to be traded.
By that point, the deal could be expanded to include a third team. The Timberwolves have had discussions with the Philadelphia 76ers about acquiring forward Thaddeus Young to help fill Love’s shoes.
For now, 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 for weeks, and the teams had been discussing a possible deal long before James announced he was re-signing with the Cavaliers.
In Miami, James won two titles and went to four straight NBA Finals with teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They were a power trio, making the Heat both envied and despised by the rest of the league.
James, Irving and Love could be equally devastating.
Now in the prime of his career at 29, James is the best player in the NBA as he returns home to Ohio. 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.
Love can opt out of his contract next summer, and the three-time All-Star made it clear to the Timberwolves that he was looking to join a contender after missing the postseason for six seasons in Minnesota.
• Police arrested former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden on battery charges, alleging that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight. The free-agent center, who played for the Miami Heat last season, was arrested at his mother’s suburban home in Lawrence, Ind.
• The Dallas Mavericks knew they would possibly have to deal with some legal ramifications when they acquired embattled point guard Raymond Feltonfrom the New York Knicks. Felton was suspended four games by the NBA for pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm.
• Former NBA commissioner David Stern heads a group of 10 Hall of Fame inductees who will be honored Friday night at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
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• The Detroit Pistons hired former NBA star Tim Hardaway as an assistant coach. Hardaway was a five-time All-Star.