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Formidable trio gathering in Cleveland

8/23/2014
Getty Images

Kevin Love joins LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to give Cleveland a formidable big three.The Cavaliers, Timberwolves and 76ers have completed a three-team trade, with Cleveland getting Kevin Love from Minnesota while the Timberwolves get Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young. In return for Young, the 76ers receive Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Alexey Shved and a future 1st-round pick.

Rare blockbuster swap

Wiggins is only the second player since the merger to be drafted first overall and then traded before playing a single game. Chris Webber was traded to the Warriors after the Magic drafted him No. 1 overall in 1993.

Love is the third player in NBA history to change teams in the offseason after averaging at least 26 PPG and 12 RPG the previous season (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone). Abdul-Jabbar and Malone eventually went on to win NBA titles with their new teams.

What Love brings

Love is coming off the best season of his career. He produced 14.3 win shares last season, easily a career high. He also set career highs in points per game, assists per game, 3-pointers made and player efficiency rating.

Kevin Love 2013-14 Season

He averaged 26.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG last season, marking the second time he averaged 26 and 12 in his career (also did so in 2011-12). Before Love, the last player to average at least 26 and 12 in a single season was Shaquille O'Neal in 2000-01.

As one of the best passing big men in the league, the Timberwolves ran much of their offense through Love. He averaged 86.2 touches per game last season, most in the NBA among non-guards according to NBA.com player tracking data.

He created 8.5 assist opportunities per game, defined as passes that lead directly to a shot, and if made, would be an assist. That was the most among all power forwards last season.

Many of those opportunities came in transition, where Love, known for his outlet passes, created fast-break chances. The Timberwolves averaged 17.2 fast-break points per 48 minutes with Love on the floor last season and only 12.8 with him on the bench.

What the Cavs look like

A big three of LeBron James with Kyrie Irving and Love could be the best trio in the NBA.

Win Shares Last Season
Among Cavs' Big Three

According to win shares, which measures the estimated number of wins a player contributes to his team’s total, those three combined for 36.9 last season. That is more than any trio of teammates, and more than the win totals of 11 NBA teams last season.

Irving and Love are a combined 15 years younger than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Love alone had more win shares (14.3) than Wade and Bosh last season (13.5).

Timberwolves rebuilding

With Wiggins, Bennett and Young, the Timberwolves look to begin the rebuilding process. Minnesota has missed the playoffs 10 straight seasons, the longest active drought in the NBA.

Did you know?

Both Wiggins and Bennett were top picks in the NBA draft, making this the fifth time in the common draft era (since 1966) that multiple No. 1 overall picks will be involved in the same trade. But in each of the previous four instances, the players were traded for each other, meaning the Cavs will be the first team to deal two former No. 1 overall picks in a single trade.