Last Wednesday, Bill Simmons released a mailbag on Grantland containing a passage that would get most Celtics fans drooling like my dog being offered a bone.
Let’s say the Celtics lose the 2014 lottery and end up with a pick between no. 3 and no. 5. They could send that pick to Minny along with Atlanta’s first-rounder (probably ending up in the 13-to-18 range) and their 2015 Clippers pick for Love. And they could throw in Brandon Bass and Keith Bogans’s immediately waivable deal to make the contracts work.
This is too juicy to go undiscussed. One of our writers Tom Westerholm also writes for a Timberwolves-centric blog called Howlin’ T-Wolf, so he emailed one of his co-workers at HTW, Derek James. Derek is a Minnesota native who also contributes to the True Hoop site Hardwood Paroxysm. He and Tom discussed Kevin Love and whether the Celtics have the pieces to make a Love deal work. Thus the question is asked: Should the Celtics trade for Kevin Love?
Here’s part 2 of our discussion. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 of their discussion HERE
Tom Westerholm: You said “If I were the Timberwolves,” which is an interesting distinction. While I think you are correct about magic draft beans in theory, you and I aren’t NBA general managers (for some reason), and GMs have placed such an incredible premium on picks that I think Flip would probably be very interested in what Boston could offer.
If that were the case, Flip would be able to pick from Boston’s small collection of young talent (Sullinger, Bradley, Olynyk if he’s feeling optimistic) as well as Boston’s draft picks. Those draft picks could then be used or flipped (HA!) as he sees fit.
If you were Flip, you probably wouldn’t make the deal. But do you think Flip himself would consider it?
Derek James: Yeah, weird right? It’s like they’re ignoring our calls.
I don’t mind that offer, entirely. That is if that’s the best offer on the table and others may be able to do more. I totally forgot about Avery Bradley somehow and would have to think his name would come up in addition to Sullinger’s. Kelly Olynyk did cross my mind and he certainly is an intriguing prospect. However, my concern would still be there not being enough left if they dealt Bradley, but the Celtics would probably gladly do it even though it may cause Love to furrow his brow a little. It seems like in order to make Flip really consider it Sullinger, Bradley and two of their best available firsts would at least have to be considered. What do you think would be good filler? Obviously you know the Celtics a little better than I do, especially with this Frankenstein roster of theirs.
TW: Haha, you’re safe, with Love you have all the bargaining power. Crash’s contract can stay where it is.
The other problem for Boston is that this year’s draft pick represents an important part of the rebuilding process, since getting Kevin Love to sign on long-term might require more than just Rajon Rondo’s presence on the team.
What about this deal: Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger (the contracts work) in exchange for Love, and Minnesota gets this year’s Brooklyn/ATL pick as well as Brooklyn’s 2016 and 2018 picks and the right to swap with Boston in 2015?
Here’s why Boston does that deal: KEVIN LOVE!! plus they keep their 2014 pick.
Here’s why Minnesota might consider that deal: Jared Sullinger is quietly developing into a nice young player. He isn’t Kevin Love, but he’s a lot better than most of basketball Twitter would like you to believe. Bradley is young, and Jeff Green is talented as a third option (plus he makes the contracts work).
Meanwhile, the Nets are on the verge of collapsing with no tangible way to dig themselves out. Their 2016 and 2018 picks are likely to be really good and even if they aren’t, Minnesota would be able to package them in any bigger deal they want to make.
Also, if Boston isn’t good in 2015 for some reason (not out of the question, given Rondo’s injury history, the youth of the 2014 pick and Love’s lack of playoff success so far), the Wolves can capitalize on that by swapping picks with the Celtics.
DJ: That…that isn’t insane. I mean, you’re not replacing Kevin Love no matter what you do. I know Zach Lowe laid out a deal with Oklahoma City involving Russell Westbrook to Minnesota, and that’s pretty dang good, but the Thunder aren’t doing that. So, they’d have Rubio-Martin-Brewer-Sullinger/
For the Celtics, this is great because they get a known quantity in Kevin Love in exchange for some unknowns. As a bonus, their rebuild is accelerated with Love and Rondo in the fold and they could actually be back in business considering the rest of the East. As for the Timberwolves, we may have found a solution. Maybe.
TW: Well, obviously if Oklahoma City was willing to give up Westbrook, the whole dynamic changes. That’s a deal Minnesota makes in a heartbeat.
So if Minnesota considers the deal I presented above, do you think the Wolves would bite if the Celtics, say, took out the 2016 and 2018 Nets picks but included Boston’s 2014 pick?
DJ: Yeah, that really wasn’t a fair comparison since it would change the entire conversation.
Hmmm…I’d rather have the 2014 and 2015 picks. You figure that with Love those 2016 and 2018’s are not going to be as good as the 2015, although the Nets may be in rebuilding mode at that time. Unless Mikhail Prokhorov goes on another spending spree, that is. The Timberwolves may hold out for more if it’s this summer as Simmons laid out in his scenario, but if it’s later on then they could probably be talked into the package with the 2015, 2016 and 2018 picks.
TW: Interesting. So essentially, 2,000 words later, we’ve established two things: First, we are incapable of self-editing and liable to go off the rails in our discussions. Second, the Celtics do technically have the assets to make a move for Kevin Love, if they chose to do so. The remaining questions would be “How much are the Wolves asking, and are the Celtics willing to offer it?”
DJ: We’ve done much worse than 2,000 words in these things, so the readers should be lucky if we stop short of 3,000. So much of this depends on when they decide to make a move, if they decide to move Love.
If they decide to move early, like Kevin O’Connor and the Jazz did with Deron Williams, they can likely get a better haul. Yet, if they decide to holdout for a Godfather offer and teams realize that the longer the Timberwolves wait, the more leverage they have. These things are tricky too because teams negotiating with the Timberwolves don’t want to bid too high too early because, well, who are you negotiating against at that point?
I should reiterate: the Timberwolves haven’t begun to field offers for Love and they have every intention of keeping him at this point. However, this is the second best player in franchise history, so he won’t come cheap. I think they’ll need to see a good centerpiece, which may be tough if Bradley or Sullinger is it instead of Rondo; some other useful players such as the ones mentioned above; and of course multiple picks to help the rebuilding effort.
You know, this may be a long 16 months until Love can even opt-out and this is just the first time that I’ve even discussed it myself.
TW: It’s worth pointing out that the centerpiece wouldn’t be whoever the Celtics deal. It would likely be Julius Randle or whoever Boston grabs in the 2014 draft. Regardless, you’re not wrong. It’s going to be a long 16 months.
In case you missed it, you can read part 1 of their discussion HERE