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Updated: August 10th, 2014 3:14pm
Zulgad: Veto Love trade? This is one case where the NBA must be joking

Zulgad: Veto Love trade? This is one case where the NBA must be joking

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by Judd Zulgad

The NBA is joking, right?

Of all the leaks that have occurred during the ridiculous wait for Kevin Love to be traded by the Timberwolves to Cleveland, the most ludicrous had to come from the ESPN report Saturday that the NBA could veto this deal if Love has a future contract in place with the Cavaliers.

It's one thing for the NBA to have a rule on the books that a draft pick cannot be traded until 30 days after he signs his contract - that means the Love trade that will bring Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota can be announced on Aug. 23 - but it's another for anyone at the NBA to actually have the gall to act as if the Wolves or Cavs owe it to the league to abide by this ridiculous rule.

I have yet to find one person who follows the league closely who can offer a solid reason why the NBA has this 30-day rule in place. I know the league has offered its explanation but that doesn't mean it makes sense or is right. And for those who say, "Well this almost never happens with a high-profile draft pick," guess what? It's happening now and this is a reason to make the necessary correction.

New commissioner Adam Silver has done just about everything right since he took over for David Stern last winter, but not immediately wiping this rule off the books so the Cavs and Wolves can announce their deal qualifies as a blunder.

By not doing so, Silver and the NBA essentially are encouraging officials from the Cavaliers or Wolves to either break a rule or lie on a daily basis. Patrick Reusse, my Saturday morning SportsTalk partner, thinks the NBA loves this wait because it keeps a high-profile trade in the headlines and near the top of "SportsCenter" during a time when the NFL is usually king. (Of course, when is the NFL not king?)

Reusse is probably right, but how pathetic does it then make it for the NBA to essentially tell the Wolves and Cavs to tread lightly because they are being watched?

As for any potential agreement between Love and the Cavaliers that will keep the power forward with the team for the long term, there was a report last week from Yahoo Sports that Love has an agreement to remain in Cleveland on a five-year, $120 million deal.

While that might be true, no matter what you think of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert there's no way he's dumb enough to have put anything in writing with Love.

That's what got Wolves owner Glen Taylor busted in 2000 when it came to an illegal agreement with Joe Smith that promised him a future contract. The Wolves lost four first-round picks, were fined $3.5 million, and owner Glen Taylor and his basketball boss at the time, Kevin McHale, received suspensions.

In that case, the Wolves deserved exactly what they got only because they were dumb enough to leave a paper trail.

In this case, the only dumb party is a league that, for some unknown reason, apparently wants to play tough when it should simply rescind this rule and admit it was a mistake to have it on the books in the first place. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Kevin Love