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Report: Kevin Love Would Come to the Celtics



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.

Per Tim Welsh/A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE:

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.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • Ping

    I forget who mentioned it exactly, but one of the guys on 98.5 brought up a realistic comparison for Kevin Love: Chris Paul. Not that the players are in any way similar other than their elite status, but when Paul went from NO to LA, he had a similar ETO option, if I’m not mistaken. He could have opted out and stranded the Clips with nothing. Instead, he was convinced to stay in his deal, gave LA 2 years to prove itself, and then moved to an extension.

    Danny doesn’t need an immediate signature from Love for 5/$100 mil. If he can make a deal happen, pairing Love with Rondo and other deals may be enough to convince Love to stay, then sign an extension later.

  • hax

    Ainge shoving picks into Saunder’s face after this report.

  • James Patrick

    In light of getting that horrible #6 pick yesterday, Love suddenly seems ALOT more appealing…. As does Buck’s owner’s daughter Mallory Edens. lol

  • CP37

    I have the utmost confidence in DA’s ability to wheel & deal and get Kevin Love in green, my real concern is getting K. Love to commit. He’s willing to come here, but I hope that he’s just as willing to stay and build alongside the best PG in the league and not leave us high and dry like D12 did to the Lakers. I’m obviously a partisan C’s fan, but considering that we’ve got a ton of 1st rounders, solid young talent, Bogan’s contract (cap purposes) and the 6th pick, It’s not too much of a stretch to think we can give them the best possible deal for Love.

    • Ping

      Really depends on what the T’Wolves want. The Warriors can give some good pieces in Barnes and Thompson if they’re willing, and Phoenix may decide to give up Eric Bledsoe in addition to their own stock of picks. Bledsoe is a better chip than anything Boston has.

      Boston is still a real option, though. Sullinger is a young, controllable (ie cheap) asset, Bradley may not cost too much in RFA, and the 9 in 5 pick deal makes an attractive mix. To be determined what Minny decides, but I know I’m willing to see Sully and Bradley go with 2 or 3 1sts. Love is that good.

      • CP37

        Imagine the possibilities of a starting lineup with Rondo-Bradley-Green-Love-???. I think (and hope) we can keep Avery here in Boston and still get Love (though Sully and/or Kelly will have to be included in a package). Don’t forget we can also give Minny cap relief with the handful of non-guaranteed deals that we have. Just out of curiosity, do you think Bledsoe can be convinced to stick it out in Minnesota via sign-and-trade?

      • swissflix

        Bledsoe is a restricted FA, isn’t he? That and his knee make him not so appealing to be honest.

  • blahblah

    why is everyone so miffed about the 6th pick? Rondo was the 21st pick. Paul George was a 10, and so was Paul Pierce. Garnett was taken 5th.

    • James Patrick

      because there was a goal this season and that goal wasn’t reached. we traded away KG and Pierce for a little more than the 6th pick. I mean sure, we got those other picks but if you’ve studied this draft, as deep as it is, those top 5 players are NBA ready. The Cavs blow. God Knows how they got lucky again. #Rigged.

      • Ping

        Little more than the 6th pick? Try the 6th pick in addition to 2 increasingly attractive 1sts (’16 and ’18) as Brooklyn heads for decline, the right to swap picks with that same Nets team (’17), cap space provided by Humph (who happened to also be a great asset for this year’s team). Not to mention, Doc’s departure to LA was a direct result of the Pierce trade/rebuild and netted Boston yet another 1st.

        “Little more” must mean “phenomenal haul of assets” in your book.

      • Ping

        I’d also like to add that the Celtics’ goal was never to tank in 2013-14. If it had been, we would have seen a Sixers-like firesale midseason. This team was never built to contend and didn’t They landed right where they should have at #5, as they certainly weren’t as bad a team as MIL/PHI/ORL.

        The Cavaliers, their pathetic attempts at contention with Bynum/Deng/Hawes, and their 1.9% chance at the #1 pick should make it clear what the lottery gets you.

      • swissflix

        We traded them and got something in return. This year we would not get anything for those two, sorry. Love ‘em but it was a good (albeit not a perfect) decision.

  • James Patrick

    Let’s play make believe. We Trade for Love, Get Pierce back and KG gets released from his final year and also comes back. Oh and Mallory Edens (bucks girl) becomes the captain of the Celtic dancers. haha

  • skeeds

    Am I the only one having 2007 flashbacks? If Ainge pulls a sweet draft night Ray Allen deal, he has a great chance of convincing KLove to commit.
    The twist of course is that Love has the time to plan ahead since he’s not that deep into his career.

    Danny better be putting a nice powerpoint together right now, because them Suns are crazy talented and sooo young. Dragic has grown into what everyone hoped Rubio would be (they should ask actual european basketball fans, we would’ve called that 4 years ago) that group is already over-achieving, and they’re 13 years old on average. If I’m Love I’m really leaning towards them. Plus Phoenix is 578 degrees warmer than Minnesota throughout the year.

  • hax

    Anyone think Phoenix will give us their 3 non-lotto 1st rounders & 1 2nd round pick for the 6th overall?

  • dasein

    Celtics are in the discussion here, but the Bulls have to be in the drivers seat you’d think. Mirotic or Gibson + Butler plus picks is a pretty nice package.

    Thompson is ok, but Lee’s contract is a dog and a Lee Pek front line might as well be a layup line. Barne’s value is in the toilet. I don’t see GS as being serious competition.

    Cleavland could do something, but like Tom says, it’s hard to see Love signing of on the Dan Gilbert show.

    The Suns have picks, but they aren’t high ones and Bledsloe’s RFA situation means he isn’t likely to be involved. It would have to be Markieff Morris types coming back.

    I think something like Sully/no.6 and a future pick(s) might do it. The main problem is that the guys available at 6 are either PFs themselves (like Sully) or a PG if you think Smart is worth the 6th pick, and I think the Wolves are still pretty committed to Rubio. So yeah, the 6th probably isn’t going to be all that enticing for them unfortunately. If only McHale was still running the show….

    • hax

      Hi~ I disagree on Chicago.
      Mirotic is an unknown, possibly Bargnani 2.0
      Butler isn’t Top 20 for starting SG.
      Taj Gibson isn’t even a starter.

      The Bulls have Knicks Syndrome right now. They hype up their guys to make them look better than what they are. Knicks almost got Faried with -Shumpert- earlier this season, and they continued believing they could swap that bench player for an ‘all star’ even Rondo.

      • dasein

        I don’t know what the Knicks have to do with anything, but you’re really undervaluing the Bulls’ players here.

        Butler actually is a top 10 SG, according to WAR and ESPN’s Real Plus Minus. He’s also only 24 and would fill a position of need for MIN.

        Gibson is around the top 10 for PF too, going by the same stats. He could easily be a starting PF. Reason he wasn’t is Boozer was getting paid a gazillion dollars to do that job.

        And Mirotic hasn’t played in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he’s unknown. His work in europe is well known and he’d probably be a top 5 pick even in this draft.

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