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Kevin Love to the Cavs: How rare is trading a No.1 pick?

Ellen MeyersThe Christian Science Monitor

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement in principle for Kevin Love to join LeBron James with the Cavaliers, while the Timberwolves get this year’s No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins, according to various media reports.

Besides Wiggins, the Timberwolves will also get Anthony Bennett, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick, Yahoo Sports reports. Mr. Love will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers on a five-year contract extension for at least $120 million.

The deal cannot be finalized until Aug. 23. Per league rules, Wiggins cannot be traded until one month after he signed his rookie contract. 

The reported trade represents a rarity in the NBA: a team drafting a player at No.1 overall, and then trading him away before he plays a single NBA game. In fact, Wiggins shares his fate with just two other players. The Boston Celtics traded Chuck Share in 1950 to the Fort Wayne Pistons. Chris Webber was picked by the Orlando Magic in the 1993 NBA draft, but ended up being traded to the Golden State Warriors.

There are three other times when a team drafted the No. 1 pick, but the player did not play for other reasons. For example, Clifton McNeely was the first No. 1 pick in 1947. The Pittsburgh Ironmen drafted Mr. McNeely, but he went on to be a coach and never played professionally. Gene Melchiorre became the No. 1 draft pick in 1951, but he was barred for life from the NBA for his role in the college basketball point-shaving scandal. In 1975, David Thompson chose to play in the American Basketball Association over the NBA.

Why would a team trade the No. 1 draft pick? In 1993, Mr. Webber reportedly wanted to play for a more established team, but either way, the Magic got Anfernee Hardaway and three future first-round picks for trading him. In Wiggins’ case, Mr. James had reportedly told Love that he wants him as a teammate. Why? James wants to win more championships, and there has been talk that James, Love, and Kyle Irving would be the trio to push the Cavaliers toward victory.

In Love, a fifth-overall draft pick in 2008, the Cavs are getting a three-time NBA All-Star and the (now former) anchor of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. Among other impressive states, he has holds the league's longest consecutive streak of games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds (or "double-doubles")/ According to reports, Love will sign a five-year deal worth $120 million to play in Cleveland