The Celtics Emerge As Candidates For Kevin Love

As we reported yesterday, Kevin Love has informed the Minnesota Timberwolves he does not plan on signing an extension with the team and will test free agency next season. There are many suitors lining up for the 26-year-old power forward, and it appears the Boston Celtics have emerged as a potential landing place for Love.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that where the Celtics end up in the draft lottery held will determine whether they become a feasible candidate in the Love sweepstakes:

The Boston Celtics have emerged as an increasingly intriguing destination for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, and the Celtics’ draft position coming out of Tuesday night’s lottery could be telltale in determining the feasibility of a trade, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

If the lottery percentages hold to form, Boston would draft in the No. 5 slot, which could hold appeal to Minnesota in this talent-rich draft. If Boston moves up and cracks one of the top three spots, general manager Danny Ainge would have a more difficult decision to make on using the pick in a deal for Love.

A move into the top-3 gives them a shot at Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid.

The Celtics also own most of Brooklyn’s first round picks in the next several years and have room under the cap to take on any contracts Minnesota would want to dump as part of any Love deal.

There are a few things for both teams to consider before they get together to discuss a potential trade. For Boston, moving into a top-three spot in the draft would give them a potential franchise player to pair with point guard Rajon Rondo, which would give the team two core players to build around. If they were to trade the pick for Love instead, it could fast track their rebuilding process. Remember, this is the Eastern Conference, and if the Celtics can acquire one of the best power forwards in the league, they could find themselves back in the playoffs as early as next season. Of course, any team pursuing Love has to consider he has just one year left on his current deal, especially if the ‘Wolves are asking for a large haul of assets.

For Minnesota, they’ll have to weigh the obvious decision of whether they want to hang onto their franchise player, and see how next season plays out. They would run the risk of the team getting off to a poor start next year, leaving the ‘Wolves with limited bargaining power at the trade deadline. Of course, even if the team does make the playoffs for the first time in Love’s career, there’s no guarantee that a quick first-round exit will necessarily change his mind about leaving.

When superstars tell their teams they’re not interested in signing an extension and essentially putting themselves on the trade market, those players usually don’t have a change of heart. The most recent examples would be Carmelo Anthony in Denver and Dwight Howard in Orlando (well, he did have a change of heart, kind of; actually, let’s never talk about it again).

The Timberwolves are faced with the tough decision of extracting the best value out of their superstar in a trade, but they should also accept the reality Love is unlikely to change his mind. The league is filled with teams who would welcome him, but just a few of them can offer a package that will make Minnesota feel like they’re getting an adequate return. This is why Boston is an intriguing destination, but surely other suitors will emerge before all of this is settled.

Where do you think Kevin Love will end up?

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