Earlier, I wrote why trading Rajon Rondo might be a realistic option for Boston. It’s NOT a realistic option — of course — if the Celtics can land Kevin Love.
And according to a report last night that got swallowed up in the draft lottery madness, Love isn’t opposed to the idea.
A source close to Love told Welsh that the three-time All-star, “wants to play for an organization that’s going to be a winning organization; not necessarily I have to go to a championship team now, but a team that’s going to be built to move in that direction. Maybe it’ll take a couple years. That’s OK. But he needs a change from Minnesota.”
“He respects (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny Ainge,” Welsh said. “He’s already built it once. If he (Ainge) can sell him, ‘here’s the plan for the future,’ he’s open to it.”
This is a much bigger report than your standard “player under contract would play for team to whom he was traded and is contractually obligated to play for.” The Celtics should have no interest in trading for Love if the immediate plan is to make him into a rental, and it’s unlikely Boston will be able to build a championship contender in one season. But if Ainge can sell Love on Boston’s plan moving forward, and Love is willing to wait a year or two to see that plan to fruition, the Celtics will be in a great position. As has been written ad nauseum, Love plus Rondo in the Eastern Conference almost assuredly equals the playoffs. Love has yet to reach the postseason, so playing after the regular season ends for the first time in his career would likely be a nice stopgap as the Celtics look to improve.
Best of all, getting Love would essentially ensure that the Celtics would A) choose to keep Rondo and B) have the assets in place to re-sign him in free agency. Obviously, this is what everyone involved wants most.
It remains to be seen if the Celtics can put together a trade package the Wolves would like, and I still have my doubts. Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk aren’t that intriguing for Minnesota, and many other options remain. The Bulls could package Nikola Mirotic and picks. The Suns could package Eric Bledsoe and ALL of the picks. The Warriors could package David Lee/Harrison Barnes/Klay Thompson if they decide to include Thompson (and they should). Heck, Cleveland could package the number one pick (although one has to wonder whether Love would re-sign with the Cavs). Boston’s sixth pick is a nice piece, but it’s a leap to say that the Celtics objectively have the best package.
But the fact remains that of the destinations Kevin Love has indicated he’d like to play, the Celtics have the highest pick and the biggest collection of future picks. They are in the discussion. Where the Wolves decide to go from here is up to them.
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