Welcome to the Sunday NBA Fix for Aug. 10, where the principles in the much-talked-about-but-can’t-happen-yet Kevin Love trade continue to dance the semantics dance.
Yahoo Sports reported Thursday that a deal is in place to send Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Minnesota Timberwolves receiving Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2015.
But because Wiggins is in the deal, no trade can be officially made until Aug. 23, 30 days after Wiggins signed his rookie contract with the Cavs.
So instead, parties on both sides are engaged in an exercise of winking and nodding.
“I don’t even really care about the 26 [points] and 12 [rebounds Love averaged last season], I care about his basketball IQ. His basketball IQ is very, very high. I had the opportunity to spend 32 days with him in the 2012 Olympics. He was huge for us … he’s a great piece.”
But James made sure to appropriately wink and nod at the NBA rules.
“We can’t get too far into it because of league rules, we don’t know for sure,” James said. “I’m not getting my hopes too high on it right now because you don’t know what could happen between now and the 23rd.”
It’s situations like these that expose the NBA to criticism and make the league a favorite target of conspiracy theorists.
Sort of like teams being able to negotiate with free agents without being able to actually sign them for 10 days.
It’s silly, it’s pointless, it makes the league look bad and it’s something commissioner Adam Silver needs to get under control.
The National Football League has a similar period of free agent frenzy when it begins its new league year every March. But as soon as teams are allowed to negotiate with players, they are also allowed to sign them.
The easiest solution would be to not allow negotiations between teams and players until the moratorium period is over and the salary cap is set for the following season.
But that would involve the NBA giving up the two bites at the news cycle apple that it currently gets. The NBA gets mondo coverage when the deals are agreed to, then gets more coverage when the deals are actually signed. It’s a two-for-one sale on news cycles.
Isn’t the NBA a big enough global enterprise that it should be above Publicity Stunt 101-level garbage, though? Just like agreeing to trades and having news of them leak out weeks before any deal could actually be consummated, super secret deals that never remain secret during the moratorium period need to go away.
The NBA takes its share of hits—fair and unfair—about the integrity of its product and its results. Why continue to engage in business practices that encourage those hits to keep on coming?
Get rid of the moratorium mumbo jumbo. Either a player can be traded or he can’t. Either a deal can be signed or it can’t.
Living in the gray void of the middle behooves no one.
Here are some of the things making news around the NBA this week: