Ever since Kevin Love announced his dissatisfaction with the Minnesota Timberwolves, rumors about possible destination spots for Love have run rampant. One of the alleged teams interested in Love’s services is the Boston Celtics. Boston may not be the most attractive destination for Love at the moment, but it is the most likely destination for the perennial All-Star.
Many quickly shoot down the Celtics’ chance of acquiring Love, simply because teams like the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls are closer to a championship. But, Love has no control over these potential trades. He only has the power to agree to an extension or not. Minnesota has all the leverage in any deal and will choose the team with the best offer. Boston happens to have the most assets on the table to entice Minnesota.
Thanks to general manager Danny Ainge, the Celtics have a plethora of draft picks to offer in a deal for Love, or any other all-star player. They have a probable top-five pick, as well at an additional top-20 pick in this year’s talent-heavy draft. The Celtics then have seven more unprotected first-round picks in the next four years. Their own, a 2015 first-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers, and three others from the Brooklyn Nets in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Don’t be surprised if the Nets are at the bottom of the league by then.
The Celtics can essentially offer Minnesota their potential top-five pick, one of the Brooklyn picks, an expiring contract like Brandon Bass and/or a young, promising role player like Kelly Olynyk or Jared Sullinger for Love. If that is not enough, throw in the Clippers’ pick or take on a bad contract like Chase Budinger. Since the Celtics have a $10.7 million trade exception, the T-Wolves won’t even have to take back big salaries, which makes a trade with Boston much simpler and intriguing.
Love’s willingness to sign an extension in Boston gives the fans pause. You don’t want to risk giving up a lottery pick for a guy who just walks away at season’s end. That is a legitimate concern, but pairing Love with a point guard like Rajon Rondo would make Boston a top team in the Eastern Conference.
Nobody in the history of the Boston Celtics have wanted to leave Boston when the team is in contention. Winning in Boston is like winning in no other town. After getting his first playoff taste as a Celtic, Love will want to stay. Plus, he has already praised the city and coach Brad Stevens.
Adding Love would make Boston one step away from true contention. Rondo and Love may be enough to put the Celtics in the top of a weak conference, but one more All-Star will be needed to increase the Celtics’ championship hopes. Fans shouldn’t expect Love to fix Boston’s problems right away, but it does bring them closer to the prize.
The Timberwolves would be foolish to turn down what the Celtics can offer them this offseason. Minnesota needs to get something back for Love before he screws them over when he walks away next summer. Boston has the best chance to land the power forward and would be extremely smart to pull the trigger on a trade for Love.