With the NBA Draft just nine days away, the trade market for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love is starting to heat up again. According to a new report from ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Wolves may be coming to the realization that the best trade offer for Love may come from the Celtics.
But 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.
Analysis: Ford’s report is a welcome sign for Celtics fans that have heard conflicting reports in recent weeks on whether Boston’s trade package would be enough to land Love.
The more you look at the potential list of suitors for Love though, the more sense it makes that the Celtics will be able to make a top bid if they choose. The Rockets reportedly know they are outgunned in any trade offer for Love already.
On the Kevin Love front, I'm told the Houston Rockets are pretty sure they're outgunned in terms of having the assets that Minnesota wants.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 11, 2014
Teams like the Bulls, Suns, and Warriors can offer young talent such as Jimmy Butler or Harrison Barnes for Love, but lack a high lottery pick Boston can provide in a deal. Additionally, the value of players like Barnes or Butler is limited since they only have a year or two remaining on their current rookie-scale contracts. After that, both players will be due for serious raises in free agency, limiting their value to a rebuilding Minnesota team.
A Celtics package of this year’s first round picks (6+17), Olynyk (under contract for three more years) and Sullinger (under contract for two more years) would provide the Wolves with young cost-controlled talent they would crave for the remainder of the decade. Boston also has the ability to sweeten any offer with additional future first round picks or ample salary cap relief via the non-guaranteed contracts (Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb) on their roster.
Signed first round picks are under a team's control via rookie-scale contracts for four full seasons, making them particularly appealing to rebuilding franchises. The Celtics have nine first round picks over the next five seasons that they can use in any deal.
There’s still plenty of time for other teams to jump into the fold for Love with more competitive offers, but with their bevy of assets you can bet Boston's front office will remain in top contention for Love's services until the Wolves pull the trigger on a deal.