As I pointed out yesterday, there are plenty of NBA trade rumors that claim the Boston Celtics are leaning towards trading Jeff Green and possibly even Rajon Rondo. Many of these rumors speculate that the Celtics are still in the hunt for Houston Rockets big man Omer Asik, and that a small forward like Green (and definitely an All-Star point guard like Rondo) could be what it takes to add Asik to Boston’s front court.
While the Asik rumors are the ones I am hearing and reading the most, there are some whispers that the Boston Celtics could (or should) be interested in making a run at Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the NBA that Kevin Love is an unhappy camper in Minnesota, and if you were to set odds on the likelihood of him re-signing with the Timberwolves, you would be foolish to set those odds any higher than 0%. His frustration has bubbled up in interviews, most recently his harsh words for a few of his teammates during a loss to the Phoenix Suns, and it would unwise for the Timberwolves’ front office to believe they can convince him to re-sign with the team once his contract expires in July 2015. Add to that the fact that the Wolves are currently 11th in the hard-as-hell Western Conference with a 20-21 record, and you have the makings of a team that will begin looking toward the future very soon.
Enter the Boston Celtics, who have been looking toward the future since last summer.
Boston has done a great job of shedding some contracts and stockpiling some picks for this year’s and future drafts. While thoughts of Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, to name a few, might be dancing in the heads of Danny Ainge, as well as thousands of Boston Celtics fans (myself included), there are all sorts of question marks that come with young prospects. History is filled with tales about can’t-miss players who were misses, so there is always a level of uncertainty that comes when drafting young players.
Conversely, there is no doubt when it comes to figuring out what the Celtics would be getting should they acquire Love: a 25 year-old power forward who average a double-double per game, who has the ability to stretch the defense with his 36.1% lifetime shooting percentage from beyond the 3-point line. Despite his frustrations, Love is averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds per game this season, with those 25 PPG being the second-highest scoring average of his young career. Tell me you wouldn’t enjoy watching Love and Jared Sullinger terrorize opponents in the paint – go on: I dare you.
Minnesota GM Flip Saunders would have to be idiotic or delusional not to consider trading Love, so I have to believe that someone like Danny Ainge could pry Love out of Saunders’ hands given the right offer. The question is, what would the Celtics have to give up in order to swing such a deal? The obvious answer is Rajon Rondo; as they say, you don’t trade an All-Star without getting an All-Star in return. If Rondo was a required component in this theoretical transaction that I am proposing, I would not be in favor of it; a point guard with Rondo’s experience and skill set is worth far more to me than a forward like Love. After all, who is going to get the ball to a player like Love if Rondo is gone, and orchestrate the offense that way that Rondo is cable of doing? Again, unless the Cs have a trick up their sleeve and are able to bring Chris Paul to Boston, Rajon Rondo needs to remain in Celtic green.
Could a trade for Love be made if it involved Jeff Green, instead of Rondo? By now, you all know my feelings about Green: he’s an athletic player who can attack the rim and stretch defenses, since he makes almost three 3-pointers per game at a clip of 34.8%. Clearly, his lifetime averages of 13.8 PPG and 4.1 rebounds per are a drop from what Love provides the Wolves, but toss in a first and second round pick with Green, and possibly another complimentary player, and you have an offer that might be tough to refuse, especially when the Wolves know Love will be walking out the door, leaving nothing behind, should he become a free agent in 2015.
Rumors are rumors, and it does no good to put too much stock in them. However, Kevin Love is a player who could give the Boston Celtics a formidable front court. Small ball has worked out nicely for the Miami Heat, so there is no reason to believe that the Celtics have to go out and land a true center in order to complete their roster. I’m against trading Rondo, but not against using the draft picks Trader Danny has acquired to bring Love to the TD Garden.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so whether you agree or disagree, make sure you let me know below, or @theamazingMrS!