All right, Boston Celtics fans: it’s time to make you dislike me.
Trust me: I don’t want to do this. You and I – we’ve got a nice thing going so far. Far be it from me to bite the hands that feed me . . . but in this case, if even just for the sake of playing the devil’s advocate, I feel like I have to address this topic:
The Boston Celtics should immediately throw any and all ideas of trading for Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love right out the window.
Yes, Kevin Love is an All-Star, and yes, the majority of teams that go on to win championships have at least two bona fide stars on their roster. Right now, the Boston Celtics have one certified star on its team: Rajon Rondo. Adding Kevin Love would give the Celtics two. So how could this not be the right move to make?
For starters, Love would definitely help the Boston Celtics win more games – how could a guy who averages 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, and who posted a win share rating of 14.3 rating last season, not? – but he alone will not be enough to guarantee that the Celtics make it to the playoffs next year, much less contend for a championship. Do the math: even if Love alone is good for a 14-game swing next season, that puts Boston at 39-43 – good enough to challenge the Atlanta Hawks for the 8th and final playoff spot this season, but certainly not good enough to be a guaranteed-lock for postseason play.
With Danny Ainge claiming that he would consider bring in an elite-caliber player WITHOUT requiring an agreement to an extension, 14 more wins is not enough to justify a potential one-and-done season with Love.
Just think what the Boston Celtics could have to give up in order to acquire Love and his 14 win share:
- the sixth pick in this year’s draft (a talented young player such as Noah Vonleh)
- possibly another draft pick (another talented young player, especially if the Celtics give up the 17th pick in this year’s draft)
- possibly a talented player along the lines of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, or Jeff Green
- salary cap space, as Boston will almost certainly have to take on a crappy salary that Minnesota includes in the deal
All that, for a player who may not even spend two full seasons in Celtics white and green.
And even if Boston COULD get Love to sign a contract extension or re-sign once he becomes a free agent, the roster (which isn’t that good to begin with) would be so gutted it would still take a few years to rebuild it . . . only now, the Celtics would have less quality draft picks with which to draft promising young players.
For those of you about to utter the names Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, stop: this isn’t 2007 all over again. The 2006-2007 Celtics featured Rondo, Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, and Al Jefferson, with Gerald Green coming off of the bench – not a playoff team, to be certain, but a team in much better shape than the roster the Celtics rolled out last season. (After all, the 2006-2007 Celtics finished just one game behind than last year’s squad, and that was with Pierce and Allen both missing huge chunks of the season due to injury.) Ainge had more assets to work with when he struck gold and brought in KG and Ray Ray than he has now, so those of you looking for Miracle 2.0 can just move along: it’s not going to happen.
I don’t enjoy dumping icy cold water on you while you’re enjoying that hot shower, but this side of the argument needs to be heard. A rebuild is never a fun thing for fans to have to endure, and it’s tempting to try and instantly upgrade a lottery team into a championship one, but the pieces just are not there. Going “all-in” for Kevin Love could actually set the Boston Celtics farther back than they currently are, in the long run, so keep that in mind while you’re dreaming about championship banner #18!