There is some fresh, recent precedent.
Back in 2011, it seemed that the Los Angeles Lakers had acquired Chris Paul away from the New Orleans Hornets. Paul was a Laker for a few hours, until the NBA decided to block the trade — mostly because the NBA owned the Hornets at the time. Though, it does have the power to block any such trade. When it views it necessary.
And perhaps the Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers is one of those instances?
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, NBA officials are keeping an eye on this transaction closely.
But 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. That’s because Wiggins remains ineligible to move moved until 30 days pass from the signing 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 about their long-term intentions of playing together in recent weeks. 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.
Under NBA rules, such an agreement would be illegal and, if proven, potentially could be grounds for the league to block this trade and dole out punishment to both teams. The Wolves were infamously sanctioned heavily in 2000 after it was discovered that the club had promised a lucrative future contract — in writing — to Joe Smith, incurring a fine of $3.5 million and the loss of four first-round picks as well as suspensions for owner Glen Taylor and then-GM Kevin McHale.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week that Cleveland had a “firm agreement” with Love, that he would opt out of his contract in 2015 in order to re-sign on a five-year, $120 million-plus contract.
If true, the league COULD step in to halt the trade.
There are two hurdles that need to be crossed, though, in order to stop this trade.
1. How is the NBA going to prove this?
2. Does the NBA want to go up against LeBron James?
They can’t; they won’t.