Cleveland's pursuit of Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love – which included a package centered on the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft – has sputtered because of Love's warning he'd never sign an extension with the Cavaliers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
There was no deal structure fully in place, but the Cavaliers had been fiercely determined to secure Love in a trade package, sources said.
Cleveland was eager to build with Love and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and hoped the pairing could've become an incentive for LeBron James to seriously consider a return to the Cavaliers in free agency, sources said.
Through Love's agent, Jeff Schwartz, Cleveland was warned Love would opt out of his contract in 2015 and never consider the Cavaliers' offer of a long-term maximum contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Among teams pursuing Love, there's an increasing sense that Love's narrow wish list is increasing the chances that he could start the season with Minnesota. Timberwolves president/coach Flip Saunders has expressed confidence he can win with his roster, and Minnesota is proceeding with a focus on drafting in the 13th overall spot Thursday night.
"[Saunders] has put it in neutral," one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports regarding a trade.
Cleveland is still deciding how it will use the No. 1 pick, or whether there's another trade scenario that appeals to them, sources said. The Cavaliers wanted to fly Australian guard Dante Exum into town for a workout on Wednesday, but it never came together, sources said. Management is still debating between Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins at No. 1, sources said.