A potential Andrew Wiggins signing would do wonders for Cavs

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /

As far as this upcoming season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the roster and the starting lineup is almost set in stone it seems. Cavs restricted free agent guard Collin Sexton remains unsigned, but it would be surprising if he wasn’t back in some way.

Training camp is about a month away, and the closer we get to training camp without a deal the more likely it probably is he plays on the one-year qualifying offer. That has been a reported true possibility since earlier in the offseason.

Even with Sexton back, all signs point to a Darius Garland/Caris LeVert/Lauri Markkanen/Evan Mobley/Jarrett Allen starting unit, while the rest of the roster is pretty much set in place. The one thing the Cavaliers are missing from their roster is a legitimate 2-way wing. That type of player would elevate them from a good team that should be a top 6-8 seed in a tough Eastern Conference to a team that would leap into the top 4 in a crowded East and challenge a team like the Boston Celtics.

Enter Andrew Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins would, one would imagine, want the max from the Cavaliers, and if not the max, something close. The Cavs could potentially have the financial flexibility to give him that kind of deal. Cleveland could have some big money coming off the books with the expiring nearly $29 million for Kevin Love, at least currently, and if Sexton does indeed sign the qualifying offer that would be another $7.2 million.

If needed there are also creative roster moves the Cavs could do to create more money as well; we’ll have to see if either one of those guys could ink new deals, though.

Anyway, Wiggins could very well be a free agent next year, however, considering the Golden State Warriors will have Stephen Curry’s supermax contract on the books next offseason at $59M, Klay Thompson’s ($43M), and Draymond Green meanwhile has a $27M player option that he can also opt into. Jordan Poole could also be a restricted free agent, while Thompson and Green would be in the final years of their deals looking for a new contract. This is in the case they’re not extended, for context.

I don’t think the Warriors would trade Wiggins this season while in pursuit at a chance of a repeat. But it’s feasible to foresee the scenario where Wiggins hits the free agent market.

That’s where the Cavs could come in. They’ve already been linked to Wiggins as well. According to Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid and Fear The Sword, Wiggins is a name to keep an eye on for the Cavs in the near future, and his name has been one that’s popped up in prior rumors.

Dammarell had the following to say earlier this month, in comparison to the possibility of LeBron James returning to Cleveland once again. This was prior to James’ signing of his extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dammarell, as was rumored previously, noted how the Cavs wouldn’t just essentially bank on a James return again, and could turn to Wiggins as a potential target.

"“Instead, multiple league sources tell Right Down Euclid that Cleveland fans should keep an eye on Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins next summer. The Cavaliers have bounced around the idea of bringing back Wiggins into the fold for a while now and the Warriors probably cannot afford Wiggins on top of the other costly contracts on their payroll. With how Wiggins performed en route to an NBA Championship this summer, the fit would make almost too much sense with Cleveland.”"

A potential Wiggins signing next offseason would do wonders for the Cavs.

The Cavs could have promising cap flexibility next offseason, but the Cavs are also at a point where they need to decide where these dollars are going to go. Kevin Love’s contract is coming off the books, potentially, but it’ll be replaced with Garland’s max extension in that sense.

Giving Garland the max was a no-brainer, given his substantial growth and skill set, but keep in mind you have Allen on the books and Mobley is essentially a shoe in to get the max in a couple years, one would imagine. So, yes, the Cavaliers have cap flexibility, they just need to start deciding where they’re going to spend this money.

It’s one of the reasons why they reportedly are at a number with Sexton and aren’t willing to break the bank for him. The Cavs would like to get a deal done with him, but it appears they aren’t willing to sign him to a deal large enough that would put them in the luxury tax.

Here in the near future the Cavaliers could seemingly figure to be a team that will be in the luxury tax and a team that could possibly be a repeater status team. Even with an owner who has a record of willing to spend, that bill can become pretty steep. I can understand why the Cavs are trying to stay out of the luxury tax this coming season, as it’s the smart thing to do.

As Dammarell said though, Wiggins with the Cavaliers would just make so much sense, and at or a near-max for him would be understandable; perhaps not quite the max could maybe do it with others in the fold.

Having a two-way wing is the only thing that the Cavs are missing. As good as Markkanen is, he probably had the best year of his career last year and I think he’ll continue to build on that, however, you need someone who you can throw at the Kevin Durant’s, Jayson Tatum’s, Jaylen Brown’s and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s.

Wiggins’ two-way potential on defense what had to have been appealing for the Cavs when they drafted him No. 1 in 2014, albeit in the Love-centric trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wiggins finally has tapped into that and we saw it especially in the playoffs last year.

This wouldn’t be a situation where he’d signing with a team like the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, or Sacramento Kings, where they’d be asking him to potentially be the No. 1 guy. I expect Mobley to offensively have a big leap this year and Garland will continue to get better as well and the expectation is that even in a tough East, the Cavs will make the playoffs this year.

I think that’s something that will very much appeal to Wiggins, and Cleveland is one of the better up-and-coming teams with one of the better young cores. Wiggins isn’t being asked to be the face of the franchise in that sense, but he’d be the No. 2 or 3 option in Cleveland on offense and would be the two-way wing the Cavs have been looking for. He wouldn’t have to do everything on defense and it certainly helps having Mobley/Allen on the backline on defense.

Using the available cap space, seemingly, the Cavs could have on Wiggins would make all the sense in the world and would be the best way to go if he does hit the free agent market in 2023. Wiggins is the two-way wing Cleveland is missing and he also fits right in age-wise with the core, as he would only be 28 years old at the time if he hypothetically were to sign a contract with the Cavs.

I’m in no way saying the Cavaliers are or will become what the Warriors have become, as those are lofty expectations that you can’t predict/expect, but them potentially signing Wiggins in some ways reminds me of the Warriors when they signed Andre Iguodala from the Denver Nuggets. Wiggins and Iguodala are different players, but at the time Iguodala was coming off a season with the Nuggets in which he helped them overachieve.

Signing Iguodala away was a significant signing for Golden State then, as not only did it give them a much needed wing, it also helped them go from a young, up-and-coming playoff team to a championship contender.

Next. Cavs get B+ grade in Hoops Habit Free Agency Grades. dark

If the Cavs were able to sign Wiggins, he without question would be one of the biggest free agent signings in franchise history, but that would fill their most pressing need, while it very well could push them to legitimate contender status.