BOSTON — The passing of another week this spring means it’s likely yet another Kevin Love trade suitor has come into play for the looming free agent. This time around, it’s the Sacramento Kings, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
The Kings have the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft and Spears reported the team appears willing to package it along with young guard Ben McLemore and other assets for a chance to create a Rudy Gay/Love/DeMarcus Cousins frontline out west.
Whether the Kings have enough other assets on their roster to hold their own amongst a crowded field that includes the Celtics and other, and give Minnesota a worthwhile offer for the All-Star power forward remains to be seen. One thing that the report from Spears makes clear though is that the Kings would be willing to roll the dice on Love with no promises about his future.
On the surface, this seems like a big risk for a non-playoff team like the Kings. They are at the bottom of the stacked Western Conference and would be sacrificing serious building blocks just for chance to entice Love to stay beyond one season.
Danny Ainge made a similar declaration in an interview with Toucher and Rich last week however, stating he’d be willing to make a move for a big-name player without them agreeing to an extension with the team, depending on the circumstances.
So why are all of these front offices potentially so willing to roll the dice on Love? It’s because they know that Love in all likelihood won’t be signing an extension with any team he’s potentially dealt to this summer. It’s not about the location or performances of these teams either. It’s simply a matter of money.
Right now, Love has six years of NBA experience. That mark limits just exactly how much he can make under the terms of the NBA’s CBA. Players with zero to six years of NBA experience have a lower number for their max salary than a player with seven or more years of experience, according to Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ.
Due to these restrictions, Love would be costing himself millions of dollars per year if he agreed to a deal with the Wolves or any other team this summer. That’s not the only deterrent for Love here either. He’s also limited in the number of years he can sign for if he tries to sign an extension now. CBA rules state that non-rookie extensions can only last for four years, including the number of years remaining on a deal.
Since Love is signed for one more year and has an early termination option for the 2015-16 season, he could only tack on two more years to his current deal if he signs an extension now.
If he waits it out until next summer? Love could sign up to a five-year deal in the summer of 2015 with the team who owns his Bird rights. Otherwise, he can sign up to a four-year deal with any other team of his choosing in the open market.
There is obviously a little bit of risk for Love to wait it out instead of locking up some extra guaranteed money now. The lure of a big raise and a longer contract just one year down the road should outweigh the risk for Love.
No one knows yet where Love will sign his next contract, but it’s a safe bet that it won’t happen before the summer of 2015.
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