The caveat leaning into this is the concept that the Warriors may not want to sign Andrew Wiggins to a new contract when his current contract expires after next season. Wiggins remaining season, per SportsTrac, is at $33.6 million. This entire exercise is built on that assumption -- if the Warriors feel re-signing Wiggins is a priority, then this all falls apart.
But I strongly feel they do not look at retaining Wiggins as a priority.
I can't (and won't try) to figure out what Wiggins will expect once his contract expires. I think, however, that while he may not expect max (which would project to be about 5 years, $223 million for an average yearly salary of about $46 million with the Warriors), it's difficult to imagine his expectation being a ton less...and, more to the point, being at a price tag the Warriors may find palatable. He was, after all, an All-Star in 2022.
Obviously I could be wrong about this. Maybe Wiggins would be fine with $20 mil/year for say, 3 years, which *sounds* reasonable, but honestly really isn't the kind of contract you see in the NBA now. Good players have, very often, forced teams in awkward positions into paying them max when they aren't quite worth max money because the teams feel they have little choice to retain young talent and/or to contend for a title.
There just isn't much middle ground -- it seems the next step down are the "value" contracts where the players are betting on themselves, signing a 1-2 year contract for something like $10-15 million per year to hit free agency again quickly to hopefully score big (i.e. Kelly Oubre Jr.).
But I think the main ingredient, here, is the Warriors. They not only have a young wing in Jonathan Kuminga that is a huge piece of their future, but who is, by most accounts, ahead of schedule in his development. If that isn't enough, the team will have huge decisions on players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in terms of new contracts directly after the first year of any new Wiggins contract.
Oh...and they'll be paying Jordan Poole, too, and apparently paying him more than they might have thought initially. His current contract expires after 2023, just like Andrew.
I feel it's a pretty easy thing to consider the Warriors loyalty (and cash) would go towards the core players in Green and Thompson, who seem to still command all or nearly all of their ability -- and thus, worth -- and Poole's ascension has neatly inserted him as Steph Curry's protege, and along with Kuminga, the cornerstone of a new Warriors core.
So the value of Wiggins contract really isn't just Wiggins himself, it's Wiggins + the luxury tax they'd pay. And while the Warriors have paid a ton of money in luxury tax with seemingly no hesitation in the chase of championships, I cannot imagine there isn't some sort of fiscal threshold they aren't willing to cross. All of this is to say, I just don't think the Warriors will want to pay what Wiggins will expect in a contract, whether that is max or even something "reasonably" below that.
Whatever Wiggins will want, it will be very expensive and would overlap with any new Draymond, Klay and Poole contracts, as well as James Wiseman, to boot, if he should ever develop. If the Warriors aren't willing to pay, then it stands to reason they will want to move Wiggins to avoid losing him for nothing.
Enter Kevin Love.
Love is actually in a similar position to Wiggins -- last year of an expensive contract that he hasn't lived up to, with a looming UFA after next season. He makes a similar amount of money to Wiggins -- $29 million in 2023 -- on a team that would have to think long and hard about shelling out a new contract to him (and likely won't). The Cavs have a couple of potent big men in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, and a young wing/power forward in Lauri Markkanen that all play the same positions Love would in the last year of Love's contract...meaning Love's value would be less if the 96 minutes at the 4 and 5 positions are mainly going to those 3 players.
Love is obviously not done -- he's good again, in fact, and a 6th man of the year candidate. His value is nearly exclusively on the offensive end as a shooter/scorer, but does add value defensively in rebounding, which is a current Warriors issue. He's also a solid passer.
I feel like Wiggins and Love both would serve more of a need in swapping teams -- while Wiggins certainly fills a need on the Warriors, his main skill in scoring will only become less important on a Warriors team with Curry, Thompson, Poole and a rising Kuminga. Of course he adds value defensively, but that value is a bit depressed as he isn't much of a rebounder and the Warriors have had issue collecting defensive boards...forcing a miss loses its potency if the opposition is getting 2nd and 3rd chances.
There is also the potential issue of Wiggins not wanting a bench role, which I think personally more suits him -- his scoring retains some of the value with bench units. But in a lineup with Jordan, Steph and Klay, Wiggins would potentially be the 4th best scorer. Wiggins will see himself as a starter, and rightly so, but for how long with Kuminga coming up? Next season, sure, but beyond that?
For Love, given that he comes off the bench now, I would think this would be seamless from a team chemistry perspective.
This trade could actually work in a straight swap, too, with no draft filler or players needed. It feels like if the Cavaliers are to consider paying someone to build towards contending, Wiggins fits their profile more as they are thin on the wing...Caris LaVert and Cedi Osman aren't bad players, but Wiggins is an upgrade.
For the Warriors, this would help them in the big man department, as I'd personally see Love as a big bench upgrade over Nemanja Bjelica -- he'd play the exact same role, except be a far better rebounder and better shooter while matching Bjeli's passing chops. Defense is a worry, sure, but no more than at present.
Of course, this would set up Love to also be a situation where the Warriors could lose him for nothing, but I think the team fit in addition to a smaller luxury cap hit (as Love makes less next season than Wiggins) would offset that. It also feels like Love could be in line for a more reasonable contract extension beyond next season given his age -- at 33, he'd know teams won't be looking to sign him for 3-4 more seasons, whereas Wiggins would expect at least that many years in any new contract.
Lastly, I feel like there's potential serendipity here, as Love was heavily rumored in ye olde Klay Thompson trade rumor from many years ago, played against the Warriors in the Finals, and of course Wiggins was drafted by the Cavaliers.