Kevin Love was spotted this past weekend partying with Rob Gronkowski, shaking hands with Rajon Rondo, and getting tweeted at by David Ortiz. This was more than enough to fuel every Boston Celtics fan’s pipe dream of Love playing for the Celtics. As good as it sounds to have Love on the Celtics, should they make the trade? Of course they should.
The Celtics have more than enough to offer the Timberwolves, and the ‘Wolves are kidding themselves if they think that Love is sticking around after next season. Love’s people have all but said he will leave. There is an option to wait until free agency and not loose any pieces, but with the Lakers and Knicks looming, the Celtics should act now. Odds are, Love won’t make it to free agency anyway.
There is an argument to be made that because Kevin Love has never been on a playoff team, he isn’t worth investing in. Love has been playing in the extremely competitive Western Conference for his whole career and has been burdened by poor management, including the infamous general management tenure of David Kahn.
Had the Timberwolves been in the Eastern Conference this year, they would have been the 8th seed. Now, this argument does not hold up for any of the previous seasons in Love’s career, but it is obvious that the Eastern Conference is significantly weaker than the Western Conference. Love, and other stars headed toward free agency, should all place Eastern teams over Western teams when deciding where to play, simply for this fact. This exodus of stars to the the Eastern Conference would eventually lead to more balance and soon the advantage would be lost, but while it is still a market inefficiency, players should consider exploiting it.
The other argument against trading for Love is that it would erode the foundation the Celtics have been putting in place.
One possible trade that is being floated around is Love for Jeff Green, Keith Bogans, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and the #6 pick. On the surface that does seem like a lot, but between the allure of playing with Rondo and Love and having multiple first round picks in every draft through 2018, including three in 2015, the Celtics have more than enough options to acquire an additional player or two.
There is also a rumor that Sacramento is open to trading the 8th pick. With all the assets the Celtics have, they could trade their pick to the Timberwolves and then acquire the 8th pick from the Kings. This would allow them to still have a top ten pick in this talented draft and possibly pick up a Noah Vonleh or James Young.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly interested in trading the #1 pick for Love, and they should be. So, if the Celtics can get Love for the sixth pick, along with some players who will never be anything more than role-players, or in Green’s case, maybe the 4th or 5th best player on a championship caliber team, they should make that move.
The last issue is, if the Celtics traded for Love, would he stay? The Celtics should be confident that he would. They have a championship pedigree and are better managed than the Lakers and (infinitely more than) the Knicks. With Rondo being 28 and Kevin Love on 25, the Celtics would be set up to contend with the Heat and eventually take their place atop the conference. There isn’t a better situation out there for him. He’ll stay.