NBA AM: Is It Time For Kevin Love?

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Is Love Next?:  As the free agent dominoes begin to fall around the NBA, there is a sense that the next big fish may already be under contract in Minnesota’s Kevin Love. Love has two more seasons left on his deal with the Wolves, which includes a player option he is expected to decline, making him a potential free agent next July and a prime trade target.

Since LeBron James’ announced return to Cleveland, there have been rampant rumors that the Cavaliers could be queuing up a deal to land Love next.

While the Cavs are very much interested in obtaining Love, there continues to be debate about whether the parts the Cavs can offer are enticing enough to get the Timberwolves off the dime. The Wolves’ stance on moving Love has been that a deal would have to return veteran players that would get the Wolves into the playoffs this year. The problem for Cleveland is they have a mountain of young guys, but not that one veteran talent that makes a deal likely.

The Cavalier talks have centered around top overall pick Andrew Wiggins and while there have been differing reports on whether Cleveland would include him, there continues to be a sense that Wiggins would only be included if Love agreed to opt-in to the final year of his current contract and lock him into Cleveland for at least two seasons.

Love’s option is also what is believed to be blocking a possible deal with the Golden State Warriors. Around the 2014 NBA Draft there were reports of a possible deal that sources close to the situation said was basically done. The hang up however was Golden State would have sent out a lot of assets, including sharp shooter Klay Thompson.

The problem with the deal for the Warriors wasn’t so much about Thompson, although sources say they value him tremendously and would rather not trade him. The problem for the Warriors was sending out a ton of assets with only the current season likely on Love’s deal.

Much like the Cavs, the Warriors would be far more willing to give up a prime asset like Thompson if they had the assurances of a new deal or better yet Love exercising his option year.

The threat of Love being able to walk away in 12 months as an unrestricted free agent is what is killing the inclusion of the players that might actually get a deal done.

League sources say there is more than enough interest from both the Warriors and the Cavs to get a deal done, but for either to part with the big chips the Wolves would require they want Love to opt-in, something sources near both situations say still remains a road block.

During this week’s Summer League in Las Vegas, there was a sense among NBA executives that Love would not agree to opt-in for anyone and that he wants to get to free agency and lock in a five-year deal. Given Love’s injury history and escalations in the salary cap, the belief is that Love wants to get his Carmelo Anthony sized payday, even if that is simply re-signing with the club that has his rights at the end of the season.

The problem with that scenario is it would be hard for a serious contending team to risk giving up huge assets for Love without assurances he’d be on the team beyond this season.

The Cavs and Warriors are very much at the table on Love, the question becomes who will blink first and pull the trigger?

The Fluidity of News:  If you follow me on Twitter you may have caught a tweet from me last Sunday responding to someone asking about LeBron re-turning to Cleveland. What is funny about my “zero” comment in the tweet, is that after the Cavaliers met with James in Miami, they were far from convinced they had him. As much as everyone in the process hoped that James would consider them again, there was not a sense Sunday that the Cavs had him. In fact, on Sunday there was still a very real belief that James was coming back to Miami.

The point here is not to try and put some revisionist history on what was clearly a big story. The point is that things change. As much as things seemed to be lining up for Cleveland, they really didn’t know what they had until James sealed the deal.

In the age of socially driven news and an unquenchable desire for details, the race to be first is often over shadowing the fact that decisions are not made quickly and that things in the NBA usually happen as a result of several dozen conversations.

If this “summer of change” has proven anything, it’s that things evolve. For days it was said that HEAT forward Chris Bosh was going to Houston if LeBron left Miami. That’s not what happened. For the first week of free agency there was a sense that Carmelo Anthony was only considering Chicago and the Rockets, yet in the end the Lakers got a long look before Anthony re-signed in New York.

These stories were not wrong. These stories were not fabrications. These stories were tracking in real-time the decision making process of free agency.

It would be great if we could live a world where news was reported after all the facts were clear, after all that’s what journalism should be about right?

However, in the race to be first a lot of journalistic standards have evolved. It used to be common place for reporters to have two unrelated sources on a story, that’s clearly no longer the case. It used to be that a source had to be hyper credible to be used by a major media outlet, that too is no longer the case.

Super reputable reporters have been baited into bogus rumors and trades in the race to be first in a world dominated by one or two news breakers.

The point here is to stress a few things about the news game, especially digitally. Things evolve. Great reporters will be wrong. The world is moving faster than most can keep pace with and while it would be great to never be wrong, that’s just not a realistic position when you live on the bleeding edge of information.

I can say that we here at Basketball Insiders want to be right every time. The only way that’s going to happen is to sit out the process, and frankly as much as I want us to be right, we also need to be in the mix to be valuable to you.

We are going to be wrong. That’s going to happen. That doesn’t mean we’re not talking, listening and trying to determine what’s really happening. That’s the nature of the 24-hour news beast we all seek to feed each day.

Things in the NBA are fluid. A “no” today could very well be a “yes” tomorrow, especially when it comes to trades and free agency.

So if you want to blast me on Twitter for being wrong, please do. But, also keep in mind the world changes pretty quickly and just because you are certain on a subject does not mean that’s how it really playing out.

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