Watch your words everybody, the NBA is lurking.
It’s recently been reported that the NBA will veto the trade of Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers if there is already an agreement in place for Love to sign a contract extension after next season.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expressly prohibits any team from agreeing to a long-term contract before a trade is completed. There’s no doubt Love and the Cavs have negotiated the idea of him staying in Cleveland long term, but if there is already a confirmed agreement in place, both sides could land in hot water.
The two teams have been quiet on the matter, with Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN reporting, “Sources say that 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.”
While Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that there is a deal in place, nobody from Love’s camp or the Cavs camp has commented on the matter.
It wouldn’t be the first time the T-Wolves were affected by such a ruling, as this CBS Sports article points out that the team’s handling of Joe Smith got them punished by the league. In addition, Zach Harper does a nice job of explaining the reasons why the NBA would have to block the trade if the agreement has been made.
Many are asking if this scenario is at all similar to the NBA vetoing the trade of Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, and no, it is not. The NBA owned the New Orleans Pelicans at the time of the transaction, and David Stern said that he didn’t believe it was a good business decision for the team.
This time around, commissioner Adam Silver has no vested interest in either team, and the only reason he would block the trade would be if there was an illegal agreement in place between the two parties.
Overall, it seems like nothing to worry about. It will be incredibly difficult for the league to prove with any certainty that Love and the Cavs agreed to something before the trade was finished.
In addition, the plan was for Love to sign the extension AFTER the upcoming season, which means both parties can afford to put the issue on the back burner until this blows over.
I still have no doubts that we’ll be seeing Kevin Love introduced as a Cleveland Cavalier shortly after August 23rd.