LeBron James signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Free Agency is more than enough to shake up the landscape of the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA. However, the Cavs and James clearly weren’t done there as they then honed in on acquiring All-Star power forward Kevin Love via trade, a deal that has seemed like a formality in recent days. That may no longer be the case, though.
The “handshake agreement” between the Cavs and the Minnesota Timberwolves that would put Love and first-overall pick Andrew Wiggins on the move is still in place for the time being. Moreover, LeBron has voiced his support for the deal time and again. According to Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein at ESPN, though, there’s a chance that the league could step in and veto the trade.
A wrinkle in the report of the agreement between the two teams from Yahoo! Sports was that Love had agreed to re-sign with the Cavs to a five-year max contract next summer when he opts out of his current deal. Though the ESPN report’s sources refute that claim, if there is an agreement in place concerning Love re-signing, the NBA could block the trade from happening.
Under league rules, specifically the rules in place regarding circumvention of the salary cap, teams cannot make agreements regarding future free agency decisions. In fact, any talks between Cleveland and Love regarding a re-signing aren’t allowed to occur under league rules until Love officially enters the open market in the summer of 2015.
If discussions have already taken place between Love and the Cavaliers, the league would be forced to dole out punishment to all parties involved. Subsequently, one of the punishments handed down could be the trade being vetoed.
It would seriously be a shame for a deal of this magnitude to not happen because of future free agency discussions. Given the rules in place, though, it would also be a stroke of stunning stupidity on the part of the Cavs if the trade were to be nullified for the breaking of such a simple rule in the CBA.
With conflicting reports from two credible sources, it’s hard to know exactly where this issue stands right now. There’s no doubt that trading for Love would benefit the Cavaliers right away and make them serious title-contenders. As we approach Aug. 23 (the date Wiggins can officially be traded), though, this is something worth keeping an eye on.