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Should The Celtics Trade for Kevin Love? A Roundtable Discussion (Part 2)

lovebeardLast 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/Green-Pekovic or something like that. I feel like that spreads out the scoring punch a little bit too while also having Bradley as another defender. I’m actually not hating this so far. With the picks involved I think this gets even better, because what the hell else is Danny Ainge going to better spend them on, and the Timberwolves get some assets which, when managed well, can be very beneficial.

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

  • hax

    Sullinger-Bradley(sign & trade)-Green-Both 2015 1st rounders-That 76’ers potential 1st rounder for Kevin Love

    I don’t think another team would outbid that without overpaying and ruining their franchise even more.

  • millionaire

    man, I gotta say I’m very interested in a discussion about a Kevin Love trade, especially from a Minnesota fan’s perspective. That said, extremely disappointed in this series.

    For one thing, you guys didn’t point out that Avery Bradley is a restricted free agent. That means he has to AGREE to sign with Minnesota. Would he agree to sign with the now rebuilding Timberwolves when their are 28 other teams to bring his offer sheet to? I don’t see why he would.

    Jeff Green has proven that he cannot be an efficient main scoring option & is better suited as a third banana on a winning team. So why would Minnesota want him? Also he has a player option after this season, which means if he plays well he will opt out & demand more money, but if he doesn’t play well he opts in & you have to overpay him. That doesn’t sound like much of an asset to me.

    Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans, Vitor Faverani & Joel Anthony make a lot more sense as filler. Keith Bogans has an non-guaranteed contract so once he’s traded he can be waived & save $5M. Bass & Anthony are on expiring deals next season, worth $6.9 & 3.8M respectively. If Bass continues playing at the level he has this season, he should be worth at least a second round pick next season. Vitor makes $2M a year for the next two seasons, which makes him a young (26) reasonably priced backup center.

    In addition to the expirings, the Celtics also have exceptions from the Paul Pierce & Courtney Lee trades they can use to absorb the contracts of Brewer, Budinger, Martin or Barea. I wish that you guys, as Timberwolves fans, would have pointed out which of these contracts you consider “bad” & would want to get rid of in a Kevin Love deal.

    • millionaire

      I’d like to say I may have been hyperbolic in saying “extremely disappointed.” I am a bit disappointed because it doesn’t seem like you guys, especially Derek, did your homework. I do however appreciate you taking the time to share your insights with us celtics fans.

    • BDiddy

      I believe you are overvaluing Love’s worth. After 2015 season Love is an unrestricted free agent, why in the world would the C’s offer Sully, Green, Bass etc and 3 first round picks for a guy that could walk at the end of the year. That will never happen. Love will control where he wants to go in a trade because no one will offer anything unless Love agrees to sign extension with them. And if he were to agree to the extension why wouldn’t that team just wait until the end of the year and sign him as a free agent. The C’s will have plenty of cap space at the end of the 2015 season. And by not trading away all of their assets would immediately have a championship caliber team.

      Rondo, Smart, Sully, Green, Love or trade Bass and a 2015 1 st round pick (Clippers pick) for Asik and have Rondo, Smart, Green, Love, Asik. That team is way better tan the T-Wolves would ever be able to put together.

      • Ping

        Well, all this talk is conjecture anyway. Any trade for Love prior to the expiration of his deal assumes he will sign long term once traded. That could mean Love controls his destination, but he’s not the type of player to come out and demand a trade or hold Minny hostage by having a restricted destination list *cough Melo cough*. Then again, Minny could trade him like Utah did with Deron Williams. In that case, the Wolves could get a higher return and Boston would have one season to convince Love to stay with Rondo.

        All in all, any talks about Love are premature. Until it’s a definite he’s traded or his contract expires, it’s all armchair GM’ing.

  • check12check

    are we sure the trade value for Bradley is that high? We all know about his defense, but he’s undersized as a 2 and can’t really play the 1, his shooting has been inconstant, and he has not once been healthy through an NBA season. Do other GMs want to roll the dice on Bradley?

    I love what he can bring a team, but his injury history is a big question mark if you ask me.

    • hax

      He’s mostly filler for that trade. Sullinger and the 1st rounders are what would matter most to Minnesota.

    • BDiddy

      I agree. I think we should let Bradley walk. He is not worth $6-8 million. That will provide us with extra cap space to go after Love in free agency in 2015. With our first #1 pick this year we should take Exum or Smart and move them to the 2 guard. I see Smart as a great fit next to Rondo. Smart has the potential to be the next D-Wade – same size and very similar games. Plus the dude will D up and is super intense like Rondo. We could have the best psycho back court in the NBA.

  • KBA

    Hadn’t considered this before, but with Chandler being unhappy in NY (link below), I think he’s worth trying out for one year before he becomes a free agent (along with Rondo) so it’ll be a big summer for us anyways.

    He’s 31 and we can try him out for a year and see how he fits. Getting him from NY shouldn’t cost a lot (and maybe Dolan takes Crash from us!). He’s a great big to have when healthy. He played really well alongside CP3 back in the day and is a deadly pick and roll player from what I remember, great defender and rebounder. I think we could really use his skillset on our team. Age, price and health are legit concerns but given the fact that it’ll be a one year rental, I think it’s worth rolling the dice.


    PS: Not in favor of giving up as many assets for Kevin Love. He is not KG (never will be) and giving up that many pieces is too many imo.

    • hax

      Bogans & Humphries for Chandler works.
      But only if we want to compete next season.

      • KBA

        If we can sign a guy like Deng in the offseason (maybe sign and trade) and draft well, we would have a good core to be very competitive.

        Rondo-Bradley?-Deng/Green-Sully-Chandler is a very decent starting core, and the top 5 draft pick, Bass, Olynyk, Hump, etc off the bench. Defense would be great, scoring (as always for the C’s) might be a bit tough.

        If we draft a small forward or shooting guard capable of starting in the NBA, maybe we give that guy a shot. Either way, many options based on the way DA has set us up. I think we can be competitive starting next year. There are enough pieces and players to be competitive!