Everybody can thank me for not making this headline “Report: Celtics could be involved in Kevin Love deal?” Anti-clickbait for life.
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Boston would still like Kevin Love (of course), but the Celtics would also be willing to help facilitate a deal if they could pick up a player who could contribute immediately.
Boston, another source said, would like to acquire Love, but would be willing to include some part of its trove of draft picks if they would help bring in a player who can contribute immediately.
Much like aftermath of the Tyler Zeller/Marcus Thornton deal, Danny Ainge would take some heat for this from the internet (which, I’m sure, he cares deeply about). After all, he would not only be letting Kevin Love slip away, but he would also be greasing the tracks to make it happen.
This, once again, would be stupid. The Celtics are essentially out of the running to employ Love at this point, since the Wolves have made it quite clear that the package of picks and prospects wasn’t going to be enough to get the deal done. Today’s report that Chicago is offering blockbuster package (Doug McDermott/Nikola Mirotic/Taj Gibson) as well only confirms that Minnesota’s options elsewhere are better than Boston’s package.
But that doesn’t mean Ainge can’t profit off Love’s exit. If Minnesota makes the deal with Cleveland, the Wolves will be going into an exciting-but-undeniable rebuild, with young players like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio all playing a prominent role in their future. The Wolves will want to give them an opportunity to play together as much as possible, and that would likely mean moving certain pieces to open up playing time. Minnesota currently has Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng both available to play center. Dieng makes more sense for a rebuilding team, but Pek helps them win in the short term, something Flip Saunders is very interested in doing as a GM/coach. Pek also just signed a long-term deal that might be prohibitive for rebuilding/capped out Boston. Dieng — who improved steadily as the season went on and has the tools to be a rim protector — may be Ainge’s target here, although it might be tough to pry him away from the Wolves.
Or maybe Ainge really likes Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin and JJ Barea. I wouldn’t have thought so a week ago, but a week ago, the Celtics didn’t employ Evan Turner.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.