A bit of breaking news for you: The Celtics are still interested in Kevin Love.
I know, I was surprised too. In Chad Ford’s latest mock draft, he indicated the Celtics are still pushing hard to move their pick for the disgruntled star, but he also mentioned — seemingly in passing — that the Wolves may consider Boston’s package the best they will get.
I continue to get strong signals that the Celtics are trying hard to use pick No. 6 and 17 along with future No. 1s and young players such as Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk to persuade the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade them Kevin Love. One source close to the Wolves said that while Flip Saunders does not want to trade Love, he realizes the team likely will lose him this summer and the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he’s going to get. Given the strength of the draft, picks 6, 13 and 17 could land them three young starters to help them rebuild their roster quickly.
Boston’s package looks enticing in this light. If Minnesota can get three starters from smart drafting, they will have a young, affordable roster to develop and mold for the future, which is invaluable for a rebuilding team (and without Love, the Wolves would certainly be rebuilding). That might make Boston’s offer a better one than — for example — Chicago’s Taj Gibson + Nikola Mirotic or Golden State’s David Lee + Klay Thompson + Harrison Barnes deal. Both those deals give Minnesota something concrete for the short term, but fail to address any long-term needs. Boston’s deal allows the Wolves to be bad for a year or two — not an easy thing to ask of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years, but a necessary evil if/when Love departs.
That being said, Flip Saunders is now the GM AND the coach of the Wolves, and he very well might be looking for a more immediate splash. Having future flexibility and young prospects would be great and all, but as a coach, why would you want to develop young players when you could try to coax a playoff appearance out of Rubio-Thompson-Barnes-Lee-Pekovic? Flip’s dual job is a wrench in the proceedings, and it’s part of the reason I’m never quite sold on the idea of a coach/GM that isn’t named “Doc Rivers.”
Nine days until the draft. Buckle up and prepare to get whiplash.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.