December 20, 2014

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Cavs sign 4-year deal with Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins

CLEVELAND — Rookie swingman Andrew Wiggins will be a member of the Cavaliers through Aug. 22. Beyond that date, though, there is no guarantee he will remain in Cleveland.

Wiggins signed a four-year contract Thursday that will pay him $5.5 million in his first professional season. The No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft could earn $25.1 million over the life of the pact, which includes two guaranteed years and two team options.

The Cavs also have the ability to control Wiggins’ rights through the 2018-19 season under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which limits all rookie contracts to four years and sets their value based on draft positions.

Earlier in July, Wiggins inked a five-year international endorsement deal with Adidas worth $10 million.

Whether the 6-foot-8, 200-pounder from Kansas ever plays in a game for Cleveland, however, is a huge question mark.

Clause “I-G-5-A” in the CBA prevents drafted rookies from being traded for 30 days after signing a contract, but does not prohibit teams from negotiating swaps during that period.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have demanded that Wiggins be included in any deal for three-time All-Star power forward Kevin Love, but are also conducting trade talks with Golden State and Chicago.

In theory, the Cavs and Timberwolves could agree to send Wiggins to Minnesota for Love during the next 4½ weeks, but the trade would not be official — or binding — until Aug. 23.

The latter aspect is critical as a handful of NBA players and teams have failed to honor handshake agreements in the modern era.

Two notable examples are Carlos Boozer reneging on his promise to re-sign with Cleveland in order to accept more money from the Jazz, and the 76ers backing out of their six-year contract agreement with Willie Green after he suffered a major knee injury.

Cavs general manager David Griffin drafted Wiggins with the intention of pairing him in the backcourt with two-time All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Just two weeks later, Cleveland’s long-term plan became a short-term championship chase when four-time NBA MVP LeBron James announced he was coming home. The Akron native subsequently signed a two-year contract with the Cavs, then convinced former Heat teammates Mike Miller and James Jones to join him.

James is continuing to recruit shooting guard Ray Allen — a member of Miami’s 2013-14 squad — while encouraging Griffin to do whatever it takes to acquire Love.

The 39-year-old Allen has played 18 seasons and is the NBA’s all-time leader with 2,973 3-pointers. The Boston Globe reported that he is leaning toward accepting Cleveland’s one-year contract for the league veteran minimum.

Allen’s marketing representatives at Tandem issued a statement, saying, “The reports that Ray Allen intends to play for the Cavs are unfounded. He has not yet decided if he will play next season or for which team.”

Cleveland also signed second-round draft pick Joe Harris — a shooting guard from Virginia — to a three-year contract. The first two seasons are guaranteed at $900,000.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.

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