The Minnesota Timberwolves front office has insisted for years that they have no interest in dealing their star power forward Kevin Love. That stance may be starting to shift.
According to a new report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports Wolves’ president Flip Saunders will consider trade offers for the All-Star this summer, and the Boston Celtics will be one of the teams in hot pursuit of the big man.
“For the first time, Flip [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports. The Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are among many teams determined to make hard runs at trades for Love, league sources said. Boston and Los Angeles plan to make high-lottery picks in the 2014 NBA Draft available in offers for Love, sources said.
Love’s potential availability is a welcome development for Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office in their quest to improve their team with some “fireworks” this summer. That the Celtics would be willing to give up their lottery pick for the power forward should come as no surprise — Ainge would be following the model he created back in 2007 when he packaged draft picks to acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in separate deals.
Like Garnett back in the summer of 2007, Love will be entering the final year of his contract next year, if he decides to use the early termination option in his contract. That situation makes it highly likely that the Celtics or any other team that trades for Love would want him to sign an extension in a new destination. It’s an important factor when considering any trade scenarios involving the power forward, since Love will ultimately have to go to a team he’s content on playing with for a few seasons of his prime.
Wojnarowski indicated that Los Angeles and New York are Love’s top destinations but the big man would be open to any team with a chance of contending. Would the lure of playing with Rajon Rondo under Brad Stevens be enough of a draw for Love to come to Boston? It’s doubtful, unless Ainge makes some serious upgrades on other sections of the roster.
The good news for Ainge though is that he’s built himself quite the treasure chest of trade assets in the past couple seasons. The Celtics have nine first round draft picks over the next five seasons, a $10 million dollar trade exception, a pool of young talent, and a number of unguaranteed contracts that could help facilitate any deal.
The combination of these trade chips makes it likely the Celtics will be able to outbid any other team for the services of Love and still improve other parts of the roster with whatever assets that remain.
There’s no guarantee that Love will want to come to Boston, but Celtics fans can rest easy knowing Boston may be one of the more appealing destinations out there for Love in any potential trade.