Why Flip Will Lose Love, and Why That Doesn't Matter

When it comes down to it, the Timberwolves are doomed to lose Kevin Love because he doesn't want to play there, and the current CBA doesn't help Minnesota to outbid any rivals. Because of this, other teams seem to be assuming that they can lowball; after all, the pressure is on Flip. He "must" trade Kevin Love. But this is false; the pressure is, in fact, on every competing team. This is because if you are a competitive team (i.e. a team that Love will want to stay on), there is actually tons of value in inheriting Love's bird rights -- just not until 2016.

The Wolves have two problems: first, they aren't competitive enough to interest Love. This is partly the other players on the team, partly bad coaching, partly bad luck, but mostly this is simply because the Wolves play in the west. The second problem is that the major way in which the CBA lets you keep players is by being able to add an extra year. This is probably why Bosh stayed in Miami instead of going to Houston for the same annual salary.

The problem, though, is that Love won't want extra years, no matter who he's playing for. His agent, Jeff Schwartz, is fully aware that contract sizes are about to undergo dramatic changes. Because of this, no matter where Love goes, he will either a) opt in to his fourth year, and become a free agent in 2016, or b) opt out of his fourth year and sign a one-year deal in 2015/16. Option b) is a litte more money, but he might take option a) in a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge, if they trade me here I'll opt in" move.

Love is 25. He has more earning years left. If he waits 2 years before signing long-term, he will be 27. If he goes to the finals with LeBron (or Stephen Curry, or Dwight Howard) before then, his value is ensured.

Nevertheless, in 2016, it is pretty likely that almost every team will have room for a max contract; the cap will likely baloon to 85-90 million. Consider the situation of a contending team. Do you think it would be valuable to say to Kevin Love "well, we can give you an extra year and 7% yearly raises instead of 5%" when he's 27 and looking to sign a max deal? Of course it will be.

That is why teams should want to be in this position. And that is why Cleveland would be insane to try to lowball Flip, and why Golden State is crazy to keep Klay Thompson off the table if the Flip is stupid enough to want him (I'm really scratching my head to figure out why anybody wants to pay Klay Thompson $15m a year).

I said this on the podcast but it bears repeating: Love is not like a new iPhone. When the new iPhone comes out, you might say "I don't want to wait in line 4 hours to get one, I'll just wait until next month when it is easy." And that is totally justifiable.

He is also not a brand new 4k TV. You might think "4k is cool, but I'll just wait until it comes down in price as more models hit the market."

Love is like a Picasso. You walk into a store where somebody wants to sell the Picasso for $500, you do not think "Oh, this sucker doesn't know he has a Picasso! I'm going to see if I can get it for $250. I'll wait him out, he clearly wants to sell."

You do not do that. You take out your wallet, and you plop down $500 as fast as you fucking can before someone else walks in the store and yells "Holy shit, a Picasso!" and starts a bidding war that you might lose. Because there are no other picasso's coming on the market any time soon.