ESPN reports that any agreement between Love and the Cavaliers concerning his future would be a violation of the salary cap circumvention rules, and the league is paying close attention to the transaction.
Apparently the Wolves gave permission for the Cavs and Love to speak to each other, but league rules prevent any future agreements, whether verbally or in writing.
According to Yahoo! Sports, which reported an agreement in principle between the teams earlier Thursday, Cleveland has committed to make the trade with a "firm agreement" that Love will re-sign with the Cavs next summer for five years and $120 million-plus after opting out of his contract. But such an arrangement would be a violation of NBA rules.
Sources confirmed to ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Thursday that the Cavs and Love can make no such arrangements about the future, even verbally, without violating salary-cap circumvention rules in the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Now, my interpretation of this situation is that it matters a lot more what the Cavs said or did than Love. Consider this made up conversation:
Cavs: If we trade for you, would you consider opting in to your final year?
Love's agent: No, we don't think we will do that.
Cavs: Would you consider an immediate extension if we offered it?
Love's agent: No. The current plan is to opt out next summer. But we would agree to a maximum contract offer at that time.
Cavs: Ok. Thanks for letting us know your thinking.
I think the above would be OK. It pushes the edges of the rules, but I think it's OK. However, if the Cavs responded that they would offer such a deal next summer, then it's a violation of the rules as I understand them.
I seriously doubt that the league is going to do anything about this situation, but they do take circumvention violations seriously; at least they have in the past. Marc Stein did say in a video accompanying that article that the league is paying close attention to this transaction. Everyone needs to be very careful.
On another topic, I got to meet a couple of CHers last night, and they bought me beer and food! Dogpile/Asleep and the Keyboard and his friend, as well as Runpinto and Madison Dan (who has had the displeasure of my company before) got together in Madison, and it was good fun. Thanks guys.
This is a thread for Saturday. Treat it well.