GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Andrew Wiggins stepped onto the basketball court yesterday wearing his No. 21 wine-and-gold-colored Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. Odd, considering the jersey had just been discontinued by the NBA Store.
Asked for his thoughts on his jersey no longer being available for purchase on the league's website, Wiggins seemed surprised.
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"I didn't try to buy my own jersey," he joked Sunday during an NBA rookie photo shoot for Panini trading cards at the Knicks' training facility.
But the fact that the jersey of the top pick in this year's NBA draft was taken off shelves and online browsers was the latest sign that a trade involving Wiggins likely is imminent.
Since LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, there has been speculation that Wiggins would be included in a potential trade package for Minnesota's Kevin Love. Reporters were not permitted to ask Wiggins about a trade Sunday.
Wiggins signed a four-year deal with the Cavaliers on July 24. He isn't eligible to be traded for at least 30 days after signing, which would be Aug. 23. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Saturday that Love is expected to be traded on either Aug. 23 or 24.
Wiggins said he has not spoken to James. He still talks as if he plans to be James' teammate.
"It's not every day the best player in the NBA comes to your team," he said. "Whenever that happens, you make the best of it. I'm going to learn a lot and pick his brain, see what it takes to be the best."
Trading the top pick in the draft is rare in the NBA, last occurring in 1993 when the Orlando Magic traded Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway and draft picks.
Wiggins was asked if he'd rather be a role player on a championship contender (such as Cleveland) or a star player on a rebuilding team (such as Minnesota).
"Doesn't matter where I am, I eventually want to be the best," he said. "That's just the competitor in me. I always want to be the best, even if I'm in Cleveland with all of those guys."
If he's not? Maybe those fans who did purchase his jersey kept the receipt.