BOSTON (CBS) — Kevin Love reportedly won’t resign with Minnesota after this season, making it very likely the Timberwolves trade the all-star power forward this summer.
The Boston Celtics, in need of an all-star or two to play next to Rajon Rondo, are one of the favorites to land Love, given their plethora of draft picks, young talent and movable money.
The rumors should just get louder as the June 26th NBA Draft approaches, so follow any and all Kevin Love news with our “Kevin Love Watch.”
Here is the latest:
June 23 from Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher: Love To Warriors “Dead”
This is good news for Celtics fans, with a team vying for Love’s services now out of the running (at least for now).
But reports are everywhere that Love WILL NOT be moved on or before draft night, which isn’t very good news for Celtics fans. Kevin Garnett didn’t become a member of the Celtics until the end of July, so anything is possible, but given the fact their two first round picks in this year’s draft are the most enticing part of their offer, the Celtics will most likely have to pull off a trade before Thursday night if they want Love.
June 19 from USA Today’s Sam Amick: Warriors Make Klay Thompson Available In Love Trade
If yesterday’s news didn’t knock you down, this might do the trick:
The Warriors do not have a pick in this year’s draft to offer Minnesota, but including the sharp-shooting Thompson along with power forward David Lee and future picks might be enough to get Love from the Wolves.
And if you don’t care for trade rumors at this time of the year, neither does Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge:
“Ignore all of it,” Ainge said following Boston’s pre-draft workouts on Thursday. “It’s all planted on purpose. Anyone who’s willing to talk, even off the record, at this time of year has an agenda and is trying to accomplish something. So we ignore absolutely all of it.”
And by ignoring it, he means keep paying attention by coming back to this page on the hour, every hour.
June 18 from Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett: Boston’s Offer Not Drawing Love From Minnesota
Celtics fans went to bed Tuesday night thinking the Celtics had the best offer for Kevin Love, but woke up to a big splash of cold water thanks to the Herald’s Steve Bulpett.
According to Bulpett’s sources, the Celtics’ offer isn’t as glamorous to Flip Saunders and the T-Wolves as Chad Ford made it sound:
Sources close to the situation have told the Herald that Boston’s offer of draft picks and players isn’t nearly the best the Timberwolves have received — or expect to receive — for their All-Star forward.
The Celtics are willing to discuss a number of options, but none of them includes the quality of player with NBA experience that Minnesota is seeking or believes it can get elsewhere.
One source indicated Denver and Golden State have both made more intriguing offers, and there are other teams very much in the picture, as well. There have been conflicting reports on whether the Warriors would make Klay Thompson available, but the Wolves are said to be confident they can find a more than acceptable deal there.
Bulpett also hinted that a third team may be needed for Boston to snag Love from ‘Sota, something Danny Ainge is more than capable of pulling off.
With the draft just eight days away, expect the Love roller coaster to pick up more steam and take numerous loops and dips along the way.
June 17 from ESPN’s Chad Ford: Wolves Leaning Towards C’s Package For Love?
It was reported last week that the Celtics’ package of draft picks and young prospects wasn’t all that appealing to Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves. But ESPN’s Chad Ford is singing a different tune in his latest mock draft (insider’s content):
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.
Plenty can still happen over the next nine days as we make our way to the June 26 draft, and other teams may start to up their offer if reports leak out that the Wolves are leading one way or another.
If anything, this latest report gives Celtics fans a little bit of relief and a little more faith that Love could land in Boston.
June 11 from Marc Spears On Toucher & Rich: If Love Goes To Boston, The Rest Would Come Too
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports says if the Celtics land Kevin Love this offseason, more talent will follow.
Spears joined Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning, and upon hearing that Danny Ainge has already said he would trade for Love without the All Star signing an extension, Spears said Love would be a great fit with the Celtics.
“I think he would love Boston. The fans there, I put them up against anybody as the smartest in the league. If Kevin Love goes there they’d treat him like God,” said Spears.
If the Celtics can land Love, he said it wouldn’t take much convincing to get other marquee players to Boston.
“They can convince Love to come to Boston and re-sign, and if he’s there, the rest would come too,” he said.
Listen to the full interview below (Love talk begins mid-way through interview):
June 6 from Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune: 16 Teams Have Called Wolves About Love
We knew teams would be lining up for the Love sweepstakes, but now we have a number to put next to that assumption.
“We probably have 16 teams that have called us,” Wolves president and new head coach Flip Saunders told Hartman. “We haven’t called anybody.”
It’s no surprise more than half the league would like to add love to their roster, and it’s actually surprising that the number isn’t higher. It never hurts to make a phone call or two, so our question is what are the 13 teams waiting for?
June 5 from Sam Amick of USA Today: Love Won’t Be Wowed By New Head Coach
Flip Saunders is now not only the president of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but once again their head coach. Saunders took the position on Thursday, and though that likely won’t keep Kevin Love in Sota, don’t expect Saunders to flip Love for a bunch of prospects:
Team presidents don’t typically volunteer for this kind of double-duty if they plan on restarting a rebuilding effort that is already a decade in the making. That means it’s far more likely that he’ll look long and hard at getting proven players in return (such as the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls can offer) than he is draft picks (Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics). The Timberwolves haven’t been to the postseason since Saunders and Kevin Garnett took them to the conference finals in 2004, and Love isn’t the only one who refuses to be irrelevant any longer.
Timberwolves fans still lament the loss of Garnett to the Celtics in 2007 may storm the Target Center if Minnesota sends another Kevin to Beantown, especially after what took place last weekend.
Add this news to the report of Minnesota liking Chicago’s potential offer more than Boston’s, and the Love Watch is getting a little bleak for the Celtics.
Aaron Gordon, anyone?
June 4 from Adrian Wojnarowski: Wolves Begin Discussing Love Trades
And the Love sweepstakes is underway:
The Wolves may try to sell Love on Minnesota again, but if he wants out he’s going to get out.
Elsewhere in the Love connection, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reports that the Wolves aren’t as interested in what the Celtics can offer, and may already have a different offer they like more:
The Timberwolves privately maintain they already have fielded better offers from other teams, among them the Chicago Bulls, who can offer draft picks and some combination of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson along with Carlos Boozer, whose bloated $16.8 million contract expires next summer and represents the kind of cap space rebuilding teams crave.
The Celtics have plenty of draft picks to offer, but the talent Minnesota would receive in return is still questionable. However, this could all just be posturing by Flip Saunders in an effort to get more out of Ainge.
Then there is the Herald’s Mark Murphy, who is reporting that Ainge made a few phone calls about moving up in the June 26 draft:
Ainge reportedly also has contacted two unspecified teams in the five slots above his pick about trading up for the most intriguing prospects in the draft. He has also taken a marginal number of calls from teams interested in the sixth pick.
It was reported on Wednesday that the Celtics were “locked in” to selecting Arizona’s Aaron Gordon with the sixth pick, but don’t read too much into that. If the Celtics can move up, they’ll likely end up using the pick and trading Rajon Rondo, so forget about Love if that’s the route the Celtics choose. But plenty can change over the next three weeks, especially with Danny Ainge calling the shots.
June 3 from Sean Devaney of The Sporting News: Wolves Privately Preparing For Love Trade
The Timberwolves brass has publicly said that they believe Love will be in Minnesota next season, but privately they are getting ready to make a move according to The Sports News’ Sean Devaney:
Publicly, the Timberwolves are saying they expect Love to be in training camp with the team next fall. But behind the scenes, as one source put it, the Timberwolves are, “paving the way to make something happen sooner rather than later.” Sooner, of course, would be draft night.
The Timberwolves have put out feelers on what possible offers might be on the table for Love on draft night. Despite their public protestations, around the league, front office executives say that the market for Love is open, but the initial asking price is high. While the Timberwolves would expect lottery draft choices in return for Love—including a high pick in this draft—they also want a young player with star potential, according to a source.
The Wolves can’t publicly say they’re looking to deal Love because that would hurt their leverage at the bargaining table, but the groundwork is being set for a blockbuster behind the scenes.
However, Devaney adds that while the Celtics are stacked with future draft picks, Minnesota isn’t all that interested in taking back any of Boston’s role players in a deal for Love:
But what Boston is lacking is a young player with high-ceiling potential. The Celtics have no intention of including Rajon Rondo in a Love deal, because playing with Rondo would be one of the main lures in getting Love to sign an extension—and, of course, the Timberwolves already have Ricky Rubio.
Beyond Rondo, the Celtics’ roster mostly consists of decent rotation players like Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. That’s not quite what the Timberwolves have in mind as a return for Love—the question then becomes how much Minnesota values Boston’s picks, and which ones the Celtics would be willing to send.
June 2: Love Didn’t Come To Boston Just For the Chowder
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Monday night to talk about Love’s visit to Boston, and he said it wasn’t just for the clam chowder.
“I think he is clearly taking a look at the area, knowing it’s a strong possibility. There’s no way you do what he did, and bring your agent — clearly he was taking a look at the area to see if this is a place he would like to be,” said Bulpett. “Maybe putting a little pressure on the Timberwolves in the process.
“That’s not to say that Minneapolis is a bad place, but when you come out of college and you’re drafted you don’t get to be recruited. Even now, while he’s under contract, he can kind of be recruited. The fact that he can help choose his next destination by saying he will or won’t sign an extension gives him some leverage.”
Listen to the interview below:
June 2: No Sales Pitch From Rondo
Rajon Rondo says he didn’t make sales pitch to Love during their Fenway Park meeting on Sunday.
Rondo said the two only spoke for roughly “39 seconds,” and he wished him a happy trip around the city. Rondo did however give his thoughts on adding Love would do to the Celtics.
“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.”
June 1: Love Visits Boston
The Love watch took on a whole new meaning on Sunday as Love was in Boston. He caught a Red Sox game with his agent, and even met up with Rajon Rondo. This Tweet nearly broke the internet in Boston:
David Ortiz caught wind of Love being in town, and as a Minnesota transplant himself, sent out this Tweet to try and get Love to town:
May 27 from Charley Walters of TwinCities.com: Wolves Expect Love To Be On Team Next Season
While the list of teams interested in Love continues to grow, the Wolves still expect the All Star to be on their team next season:
As for the Kevin Love situation, at least as of Tuesday the Wolves expected him to play for them next season rather than trade him. If the all-star power forward isn’t traded, though, he can opt out of his contract after next season. A report elsewhere that Sacramento has made an offer for Love isn’t accurate.
While a reported offer from the Kings is being shot down, Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears is reporting that Sacramento would still be interested in acquiring Love without him signing an extension.
May 23 from Tim Welsh on T&R: Love To Boston A Longshot, But Not Impossibility
Tim Welsh was on Toucher & Rich Friday morning and said Love coming to Boston is a longshot, but thinks it could still happen.
“We have some people close to him that are with him on the west coast. Some guys say, ‘I’m never going to city X or team Y’ — and Kevin Love has said he doesn’t have a problem going to Boston if it’s right,” he said. “People are saying that he likes to play beach volleyball and that he wants to be in Los Angeles, well sure. You don’t play beach volleyball during the season no matter where you live. If you’re an NBA player, on off days you rest, or rehab or get in the gym. That’s kind of a fallacy. He’s going to live in L.A. in the offseason no matter what — as did Kevin Garnett.”
May 22 from BasketballInsiders.com: Cleveland Open To Dealing 1st Overall Pick For Love
Via Steve Kyler of Basketballinsiders.com:
The Cavaliers are open for business. They are open to trading the top overall pick, but they want a bona fide All-star in return. Minnesota big man Kevin Love has been linked to the Cavs and he is absolutely a player the Cavs would move the top pick to obtain. The Cavs would require Love to opt-in to the final contract year of his deal as part of a transaction. It’s unclear if Minnesota or Love are open to that kind of deal.
May 22 from Rusty Simmons of SFGate.com: Warriors Want Love, But Don’t Want To Give Up Klay Thompson
The Golden State Warriors, fresh off of introducing new head coach Steve Kerr, believe they can land Love, given his desire to play in California. But they don’t want to give up sharpshooter Klay Thompson, and don’t have a first round pick in this year’s draft to offer.
May 21 from Brian Robb: Celtics Should Be Able To Outbid Anyone For Love
Brian Robb of CBSBoston.com and CelticsHub.com says the Celtics should be able to offer the best package for Love, even without a top three pick in next month’s draft.
May 21 from CNNSI: Kevin Love Trade Ideas For Timberwolves
CNNSI’s Rob Mahoney takes a look at what each team can offer the Timberwolves in a Love trade, with the Celtics sending Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans, Boston’s 2014 first-round pick (No. 6) and Brooklyn’s 2016 first-round pick for Love and Alexey Shved.
May 20 from CSNNE: Love Open To Boston Trade
One concern with a Love trade early on was that he may not sign a contract extension with the Celtics. But according to Comcast SportsNet New England’s Tim Welsh, a source close to Love told him that won’t be an issue.
Welsch says the source told him that Love “wants to play for an organization that’s going to be a winning organization; not necessarily I have to go to a championship team now, but a team that’s going to be built to move in that direction. Maybe it’ll take a couple years. That’s OK. But he needs a change from Minnesota.”
Welsch adds that while Love would like to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, as his dad did from 1973-75, but he’s open to go to any team that gives him an opportunity to win.
“He wants to go where there’s the best opportunity for him which would be in a winning organization and he respects the history of the Celtics.”
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