BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics fans began salivating over the weekend when Kevin Love paid a visit to Boston, and things got even crazier when Love and Rajon Rondo had a brief meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Love, who is still an employee of the Minnesota Timberwolves, hit the town to get a feel for the city, a city he may soon be playing for. Love can opt out of his contract after the upcoming season, and has made it known he will test the free agent waters in 2015. That’s opening the door for an off-season trade of Love, and the Celtics will be one of the many teams lining up trying to offer up the best deal for the three-time All Star.
There’s little doubt that Rondo would love to have a player like Love alongside him next season. He too can hit the free agent market in 2015, but adding a player of Love’s caliber would make Boston a playoff team, and much closer to being an annual contender for a championship.
But according to Rondo, Sunday’s meeting at Fenway wasn’t a big sales pitch to get Love to Boston.
“The only pitch that was thrown was from Jon Lester,” Rondo told reporters at the Celtics’ practice facilities on Monday. “I didn’t pitch anything. I just told him to enjoy his time here.”
“We do work together; we play against each other and compete against each other,” Rondo said of Love. “So when I saw him I wished him good luck during his time here in Boston. He spent a couple days here, I told him I was spending a couple of months here in Boston.”
Rondo, who was up in the Monster Seats, said he wasn’t aware that Love was at Sunday’s game until someone told him. He wanted to meet up with his fellow NBA All-Star, but with Love in a luxury suite, he wasn’t sure if that would happen.
But Rondo saw Love as he left the park, and a few seconds the two enjoyed a brief chat. Rondo said it lasted for roughly “39 seconds.”
But that’s longer than the Celtics front office can speak with or about Love. As an organization, the C’s brass cannot talk about a player under contract with another team. Rondo isn’t about to play general manager, and he was quick to say how much faith he has Danny Ainge’s rebuilding ability, but Boston’s floor general said that adding a player of Love’s caliber would obviously help a team that won just 25 games in 2013.14.
“I think we would be a lot better if we had a guy like Kevin,” he said. “He’s a range-shooting (power forward). He’s going to help on the glass, obviously — we haven’t been the best on the glass. We have to do a much better job on the glass.”
But even Rondo knows that things being said in the off-season rumor mill should be met with a quizzical approach.
“This is all speculation,” said Rondo. “Nothing is happening and nothing is set in stone. We could talk about Kevin all day, or insert Carmelo [Anthony’s] name. Nothing is happening.”
Rondo said this is one of the first off-seasons that he will spend the majority of his time in Boston. His kids are still in school, but even when their school year is over Rondo said he and his family will stick around and learn more about the city he represents.
But it’s not all sightseeing and relaxation for Rondo, who is now 16 months removed from ACL surgery. He is still working hard to fully recover, spending four to five days a week in the gym since the end of the season. Rondo said he is doing his rehab in the morning and putting up shots at night, hoping he to return to his All Star form.
“I want to win. I want to win now,” he said. “I’m sure Danny Ainge will have the guys in here who will be able to compete for a title. I don’t want to just make the playoffs and get to the first or second round.”
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