(Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers have sent top overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins and former number one pick Anthony Bennett to the Minnesota Timberwolves for prized All-Star forward Kevin Love as part of a blockbuster three-team deal.
Cleveland also sent a protected 2015 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, who will acquire guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from the Timberwolves in exchange for veteran forward Thaddeus Young in the multi-player trade.
The addition of Love, who will team up with recently-signed four-time league most valuable player LeBron James and exciting young talent Kyrie Irving, further solidifies the Cavaliers as a favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
“Kevin joining the Cavaliers represents a very special and unique opportunity for our team,” Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said in a statement after the three-way trade was formally announced on Saturday.
“At only 25, Kevin has already firmly established himself as one the NBA’s elite players and his talent, versatility and fit are major parts of our team’s vision for success.”
The Love deal was announced in principle earlier this month but could not be finalized until Saturday because Wiggins, who was taken first overall by Cleveland in June, could not be traded until 30 days after the signing of his rookie contract.
Bennett, the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, had a rough start to his rookie campaign with Cleveland but improved as the season progressed. He averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 52 games.
“We are excited to add three young, talented and athletic players to our team in Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young,” said Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders.
”With the additions of Wiggins, Bennett and Zach LaVine this summer, we have brought in three exciting young athletes who all have the potential to have an impact in this league.
“I appreciate all that Kevin, Luc and Alexey have done for our organization and wish them the best of luck with their new teams.”
According to local media, the Cavaliers made the deal with Minnesota with a firm agreement that Love will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers on a five-year, $120 million-plus contract extension.
Love averaged 26.1 points per game, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season for a Minnesota team that went 40-42 and was nine games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry