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Report: Love to Cleveland done, Sixers not involved

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Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have reached an agreement to send Kevin Love to Cleveland. The Sixers are not mentioned in the report.

Doug Pensinger

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the deal to send Kevin Love to Cleveland has been agreed upon.

The report confirms the Brian Windhorst report from earlier in the week, which stated that the two teams had an agreement in principle.

The Yahoo Sports report, which has Minnesota getting Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a 2015 1st round draft pick, has two key pieces of information.  First, Wojnarowski is reporting that Kevin Love has verbally agreed that he will opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign to a 5 year, $120 million+ contract extension next summer.  Second, the report states that no third team is involved in the trade agreement.

As a non-taxpaying team, Cleveland can take back the total of Wiggins' salary ($5.51 million) and Bennett's salary ($5.56 million), plus $5 million, which totals $16.07 million.  Kevin Love's salary ($15.7 million) fits within this range, and because of that the Sixers were never required to complete the trade.  The reasons the Sixers were mentioned as potentially being involved were due to their ability to potentially absorb a bad contract that Minnesota may have been looking to move, and also because of Minnesota's rumored interest in acquiring Thaddeus Young.

In Brian Windhorst's interview on ESPN Radio, much was made when he mentioned Bennett possibly going to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young.  However, that appeared to be mostly speculation on his part, deviating from the tone he was using when reporting that the agreement between Cleveland and Minnesota was in place.

Darren Wolfson, a reporter out of Minneapolis, also reported that the Wolves preferred Young over Bennett, and said that he believes Bennett would be re-routed to the Sixers.  Today, despite Wojnarowski not including the Sixers in his report, Wolfson is reporting that the Wolves are still trying to involve the Sixers.

Reminder: None of this can be finalized until August 23rd because the Cavaliers just signed Andrew Wiggins on July 24th, and have to wait 30 days to trade him.

If the Sixers are not involved in the trade as a third team, the Wolves would not be able to trade Anthony Bennett for two months.  An exception to that is if Anthony Bennett is the only outbound salary involved in the trade with the Sixers from the Timberwolves side, then he can be traded immediately.

The Wolves would be over the salary cap after completing a Thad for Bennett swap, so that means that the Wolves can only receive 150% (+$100k) of Bennett's outbound salary.  Bennett is due $5,563,920 this upcoming season, meaning the max that they can receive is $8,445,880, by my calculations.  Since the Wolves cannot add salary to Bennett, they would not be able to absorb Thad's $9.4 million salary.

There are ways around this.  The Traded Player Exception that the Wolves should get in the Love/Wiggins trade cannot be used in conjunction with Bennett to take on Thaddeus Young's salary.  However, the Wolves/Sixers could split the trade into two different moves: Bennett to the Sixers (who absorb Bennett with their cap space), then something like Alexey Shved + Jose Barea to the Sixers for Thad in a separate deal.  Or, they could simply wait two months to complete a Bennett-to-Sixers trade, which would still be before the start of the season.

My biggest question, though, has always been how much interest there really was in a swap, and my questioning mostly comes from Minnesota's end.  My question isn't why Minnesota would want Thaddeus Young the player, which I can absolutely see, but it's why, if Thaddeus Young is unhappy with the state of the Sixers rebuild, I question whether he would be happy in Minnesota.  And, if Young intends to opt out and go to a contender after this season, I question why Minnesota would give up assets, even an underachieving asset like Bennett, to acquire him.

Still, if there is mutual interest in both sides in a Bennett-for-Thad swap, there's still more than 2 weeks to amend the agreed upon trade and get it done, and ways to get around the trade should an agreement not be in place when the Wolves/Cavs deal becomes official.