Bill Simmons has dreamed up a trade scenario that he believes will land the Celtics Kevin Love:
Like Love in Minnesota, [Rajon] Rondo can leave Boston in July 2015. And like Love, you can’t trade him unless it’s a team that (a) has assets to give back, and (b) could entice him into staying. Harder than you think. Houston and Dallas don’t have the assets. New York DEFINITELY doesn’t have the assets. A “Rondo to Sacramento for Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams’s expiring and the right for Boston to swap picks once in 2014, 2015 or 2016” deal makes sense on paper — and was seriously discussed last week, too — until everyone remembered that you’d have a better chance of seeing Rondo host an ABC late-night talk show of him playing Connect Four with celebrities called Connect Rondo than you would of seeing him spend the rest of his prime, five years, in Sacramento with Boogie Cousins.
So, what do you do? Well, aren’t you better off keeping Rondo — one of the league’s 15 to 20 best players when healthy — and finding him an All-Star teammate? Enter Kevin Love. They did it in 2007 with Paul Pierce and they could easily do it again: by paying a premium price for a second All-Star, suddenly it becomes MUCH easier to get that third All-Star. The Celtics couldn’t have convinced KG to play with just Pierce … but Ray Allen and Paul Pierce? The rest was history.
OK, so what happens if Boston … trumps everybody? Let’s say the Celtics lose the 2014 lottery and end up with a pick between no. 3 and no. 5. They could send that pick to Minny along with Atlanta’s first-rounder (probably ending up in the 13-to-18 range) and their 2015 Clippers pick for Love. And they could throw in Brandon Bass and Keith Bogans’s immediately waivable deal to make the contracts work. Oh, and if Minnesota were more interested in one or more of those future Brooklyn picks that Boston owns (unprotected in 2016 and 2018, pick swap in 2017), the Celts could discuss that, too. Remember, they have a WAR CHEST of picks: 10 in five years, including Brooklyn’s draft right as they’re entering the “Deron and Joe are old and Brook Lopez wears a suit to every game” phase of the Prokhorov era. You team up Love and Rondo and suddenly it’s 10 times easier to land that third All-Star. (You reading, Carmelo?) And yes, that deal could potentially net the Timberwolves three top-15 picks in a monster draft. Odds of it happening: 3-to-1.
I’m down with keeping Rondo and finding him All-Star teammates. But if the Celtics land at #3 in the lottery (and Parker, Wiggins and Embiid all turn pro), I’m not moving it that pick. Not for Kevin Love or any of the other 2015 free agents.
I would move any other combination of 1st round picks (3 is enough) and supplemental players to get Love. One obvious contingent being Love signs a long-term extension in Boston.