NBA / Aug 9, 2014 / 1:15 pm

Report: NBA Could Veto Love Trade If Extension With Cavs Already Agreed Upon

Kevin Love

Kevin Love (Bryce Hemmelgarn)

If Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t careful, the ballyhooed trade that would sent the three-time All-Star to Northeast Ohio could fall through before it’s actually completed. Given a previous report that the agreed upon deal was contingent on a “firm agreement” that Love will re-sign in Cleveland next summer, ESPN reports that the NBA could veto the trade entirely if it believes such a pact – illegal under league rules – already exists.

The story is courtesy of ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein. In addition to the “firm agreement” on Love’s summer 2015 contract originally reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi, the 30-day moratorium on trading Andrew Wiggins that expires on August 23 makes it equally pertinent the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves stay mum on the seemingly imminent trade.

But sources say the Cavs and Wolves, knowing that league officials are monitoring this transaction closely, have been careful not to make any public acknowledgments that trade details have already been agreed to. That’s because Wiggins remains ineligible to be moved until 30 days pass from the signing of his rookie contract.

The Cavs were granted permission last month by Minnesota to speak to Love and his representatives in an introductory fashion, sources say, while James and Love have also been in direct contact in recent weeks about their long-term intentions of playing together.

On Thursday, Yahoo! Sports reported that the Cavs and Wolves have agreed to a trade in principle and that Love has an agreement to re-sign with the Cavs next summer for five years, $120 million after opting out of his contract.

But sources insist that no agreement for Love to sign an extension in Cleveland next summer — when he can become a free agent — is in place.

In addition, under NBA rules, such an agreement would be illegal, and, if proven, it potentially could be grounds for the league to block this trade and dole out punishment to both teams.

LeBron James almost made that very error yesterday while discussing Love’s potential impact on the Cavs. He was careful to use qualifiers like “if” and “we don’t know for sure” when it came to his future teammate, though, avoiding potential tampering charges in the process. The safest route for LeBron – and all parties involved in the mega-trade – would be to entirely defer questions surrounding it until later this month when Wiggins is officially on the table.

The Love contract talks would be just as damaging if acknowledged publicly. It’s been widely known that the Cavaliers would be hesitant to trade for Love if he didn’t intend to re-sign with them next summer, so Wojnarowski’s report of a finalized trade that included an assurance from Love that was the route he’d take was hardly surprising.

But the diction matters here. A “handshake” or “wink-wink” agreement between Love and Cleveland on a longterm contract is much different than a “firm” one, and such understandings between team and player aren’t uncommon. The Love situation was already under the league’s watchful eye due to Wiggins’ current status, however, making a mere glimpse of the reported pact far more visible than normal.

Cleveland and Minnesota, then, have every incentive to float harmless misinformation until the trade becomes official on August 23. The report by Windhorst and Stein, you’ll notice, includes an insistence that no extension agreement between Love and the Cavs is in place. That’s surely the justification behind a similar report by CBS Sports’ Ken Berger from Thursday that contradicted Wojnarowski’s, too.

Frankly, history has shown there might not be two organizations less equipped to handle these delicate circumstances than Cleveland and Minnesota. The ‘Wolves were heavily sanctioned by the league in 2000 after agreeing – in writing! – to a contract with Joe Smith during a dead period, and the Cavs’ recent, all-encompassing ineptitude always makes the worst seem possible. But both franchises are under new regimes now, and terms of the Love trade seem a win for both sides – hopefully this summer marks the turning of a new leaf for each team.

But Cleveland, Minnesota, Love, James, Wiggins, and everyone else must exercise caution. As crazy as the build-up to this trade has been, its demise would be even worse.

What do you think?

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  • 2cents

    Damn, after all this “news” and discussion on the forums, it would be so ironic if the trade got vetoed. I wonder if Silver will investigate this as hard as he “investigated” the Sterling/Clippers fiasco…

  • diablofreak

    the cavs just have to keep their junk in their pants before aug 23. i always disliked cavs as an organization – i don’t like lebron much but seriously i think he should’ve thought about more going to Cleveland, esp. with that asshole of an owner Dan Gilbert and how classless that whole frontoffice has been. but who am I to think that a person should not to be close to home.

    i will be so happy if this fell through. i mean for the other league owners to be complaining (and eventually got their way) about the Lakers Chris Paul trade, they should voice just as loud about this Kevin Love – Wiggins trade.

  • 2cents

    Actually your thoughts mirror my own. Don’t like Gilbert at all, but LBJ is a player (for now), so cannot really do anything about the owner (for now).

    I do think Love deserves to win, LBJ has the right to play for his home team and that the Cavs be given every chance to be sustainably competitive.

    But not because of this deal.

  • AJ_Olding

    Why does the best power forward in the game of basketball not deserve to win?

  • Rick Stephenson Wendycitywirel

    then he is not the best.

  • Eddie Weiss

    but don’t forget that the cavs had a verbal agreement with carlos boozer to re-sign until, as soon as the cavs dropped the option on his contract, he signed with the jazz. so verbal agreements don’t mean a thing.

  • Onyx Krieger

    Oh I remember, and after that…nobody was supposed to get upset when LeBron did similar shit? Now everybody in Miami is talking about him doing the same thing to them- how does it feel Floridians? LOL

  • Onyx Krieger

    Not ironic; typical….EVERYONE has an agenda in the NBA these days

  • 2cents

    What do you mean? Duncan won the championship last year

  • David John Wiot

    Love is not the best PF in the game he plays no defense my question is how he gets to sign a max deal he hasn’t been with the Cavs 5 years which is the rule by NBA by laws to sign a max deal

  • Todd T.

    When I think ‘all encompassing ineptitude’ I think of Jack Winter before I think of the Cavs

  • Jonathon

    Duh if they Veto K Love is going to come after this season ANYWAY so thanks to the NBA I’ll be glad to keep Wiggins, Bennet, and Still get Love

  • Varney

    Silver lining:
    Bulls are lucky not to have dumped Mirotic, Dougie and
    Butler for Love, even though Love is a top 10 player. I don’t know if LeBron deserves Love anyhow. I sure don’t have a lot of love for LBJ…Lyndon Banes Johnson on the other hand….

  • Varney

    That would be the Cavs silver lining.