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Three-team trade makes Kevin Love a Cavalier

The Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers completed a blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland.AP

Olympic champions together, Kevin Love and LeBron James spent the last 30 days waiting to become teammates again.

Cleveland has craved a championship for 50 years.

One drought over. One to go.

On the first day they were able to complete the long-discussed blockbuster trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves sent Love to the Cavaliers, who capped a spectacular summer on Saturday by acquiring the All-Star power forward as another running mate for James to make them instant title contenders.

James didn’t waste any time in making Love feel at home.

‘‘Welcome to the Land @kevinlove!’’ the four-time league MVP posted on his Twitter account.


Yes, Cleveland, a city without a major sports championship since 1964, has another new superstar.

The Timberwolves receive a bountiful return for parting with Love, the disgruntled face of their franchise. They acquired No. 1 overall draft choice Andrew Wiggins and former top pick Anthony Bennett from the Cavaliers and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers in the three-team deal.

‘‘When it boils down to it, Kevin over his six years, he kept on saying, ‘I want to win. I want to win,’ ’’ Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said. ‘‘Unfortunately over these last years, both him and the team haven’t been able to do that. He felt it was best for him to go elsewhere.

‘‘I was happy we were able to work with him and [agent] Jeff Schwartz and put him in a situation that he’s going to have the ability to do that and we’re going to have the ability for us to have an identity of where our team is at and continue to grow.’’

The Sixers received a 2015 first-round draft choice from Cleveland — ironically, one of the ones the Cavaliers got from Miami for James in 2010 — and guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute from the Timberwolves, who also receive a trade exception worth about $6.3 million.


The Cavaliers and Timberwolves had discussed a trade involving Love for months, long before James decided to end his magnificent run with the Heat and come back home to Ohio. The deal dragged through the summer, first because of Cleveland’s unwillingness to include Wiggins, and then due to a rarely used league rule that prohibited it from being completed until 30 days after Wiggins signed his rookie contract.

That bit of fine print in the collective bargaining agreement triggered an agonizing wait in both cities, more so in championship-starved Cleveland, where generations of fans have longed for the Cavs, Indians, or Browns to win it all.

But once the teams completed a conference call with the league on Saturday, there was nothing to prevent the planet’s best player from aligning with the league’s best power forward. Add in All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and James is the ringleader of a trio as potentially devastating as the one with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh he broke up last month.

USA roster named

USA Basketball has picked the 12 players it believes can defend its world title.

The Americans kept Derrick Rose and cut All-Star Damian Lillard and three others early Saturday morning, getting their roster down to the limit for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.

Though team officials had previously said they might carry extra players and final rosters aren’t due until next Friday, the Americans decided there was no need to wait.


Kyle Korver, Gordon Hayward, and Chandler Parsons also were cut, shortly after the Americans beat Puerto Rico, 112-86, in their final home exhibition game on Friday.

‘‘Since taking over the USA Basketball men’s national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we've gone through,’’ USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. ‘‘I can’t stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist.

‘‘I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent — each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing.’’

The rest of the roster: Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kenneth Faried, and Mason Plumlee.

The Americans can still change the roster in event of injury or withdrawal before Friday, a day before the World Cup opener, which is why they originally considered bringing extra players to Spain.

‘‘We feel that it’s better to go with 12 because that’s really difficult on anybody if they’re not going to be on the team to travel that far,’’ coach Mike Krzyzewski said.