Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Lagging at the end of the line are the two big-market shoppers, the Lakers and Knicks, with virtually nothing to offer.
Compared to them, Ainge is in good shape. He has nine first-round picks over the next four drafts, including two Brooklyn picks (2016, 2018) that may appreciate considerably. He also has a pair of interesting pot sweeteners in Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger. Olynyk, in particular, is an intriguing chip. Saunders was said to be deeply disappointed when the Celtics moved up to take Olynyk with the 13th pick last year. He was forced to settle for a project, swingman Shabazz Muhammad, at No. 14. It’s unlikely Olynyk did anything to change Saunders’ mind as s second-team pick on the NBA’s All-Rookie team.
So Ainge has to believe he has a reasonable chance of bringing Love back for more than just another weekend visit. But there’s a secondary issue at the back of his mind tied directly to this bid for Love.
Love could be pivotal to Rajon Rondo’s future with the Celtics.
Without Rondo, Love has no reason to come here. Without Love, the Celtics lack an ironclad reason to hold onto their most valuable trading chip.
And with a contract that will pay him a very reasonable $13 million in his last season, Rondo is that rare combination of affordable, good and extremely tradeable.
There are many reasons why the mercurial Celtics captain may play better somewhere else. His ball-dominating style is better-suited to a team of veteran finishers than it is to Brad Stevens’ fledgling motion system.
It was preposterous two winters ago when, after Rondo went down with a torn ACL, the debate started over whether the Celtics were a better team without him. They did indeed go on a run in the ensuing two weeks with Avery Bradley at point guard. That’s how long it took for Bradley’s latent weaknesses at the position to be exposed.
Boston Herald - Coming or going, Rajon Rondo’s appeal a key
This is no secret, really. It’s no huge revelation that if the Celtics cannot pull off a trade for Kevin Love to pair with Rajon Rondo (and perhaps a third star) that Danny Ainge just may need to look long and hard at trading Rondo. That also means that instead of accelerating the process of becoming relevant again, they will get worse. Much worse. Sure, they’ll likely acquire more draft picks, cap space, etc. But to what end? Although I do see the logic in this move and agree to an extent, there is an alternative however.
Let’s say the C’s aren’t able to pull off the fireworks that Wyc Grousbeck spoke of this summer. One possibility they could explore is waiting until next summer when Love is a free agent (assuming he opts out) and then they could simply sign him outright without giving up a boatload of assets. Sure, then you run the risk of losing Rondo for nothing, but maybe not. Maybe you can execute a sign-and-trade. People keep asking: is Rondo a max player? The answer is simple: Is there at least one team willing to offer him max money? The answer is yes (ahem, New York).
Either way, the C’s are definitely at a crossroads. The ideal summer would be to acquire Love, maybe a third guy, and a legit center. From there they could fill out the roster as needed. The most difficult thing to do is to get those star players first. You have one, another spent a weekend here basically telling Ainge to do whatever it takes to get him here. By the way, has anyone else seen pictures of Kevin Love in the Bay Area this weekend? How about Cleveland? Or maybe Chicago? Oh he wasn’t at any of those places? Interesting. Hey, the other option that Mark Murphy speaks of in the above piece is daunting to think about. The potential of draft picks are fun, even if you have a ton of them. But not nearly as fun as it would be to get a little Love here.
Page 2: Saunders takes a shot at Love in radio interview
Saunders appeared on KFAN 100.3 in Minneapolis and spoke about Love:
Host: “Doesn’t he have a right to be frustrated?”
Host: “You don’t think so?”
Saunders: “Just like I told Garnett, he didn’t have a right to be frustrated. Why does any player have a right to be frustrated? You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
Saunders: “Should the team be frustrated? Yeah, the team can be frustrated. But I don’t think any one individual should be frustrated.”
Saunders: “I tell a story. I tell a story about – we were in the locker room when KG was in like his third year in the league, and Sam Mitchell was sitting in the locker room. KG was in there, and we had lost a couple games, and we were all sitting there talking. KG started going, ‘Hey, you’ve got to start doing more.’ And he’s talking to some of the bench guys. ‘You’ve got to start doing more.’ And Sam said, ‘Hey, hold it, hold it. Let me tell you something. You’re making all the money. Hey, it’s your responsibility. You make the money, you’ve got to live up to that.’ So, that was the mentality, and from that time, KG never ever from that point, he always took responsibility.”
Yeah so that whole ‘taking over as head coach’ thing is off to a great start. Flip, this isn’t the best way to get Love on your side. I don’t know, maybe Flip thinks Love needs some ‘tough love’ to change his mind? Whatever the case, I can’t see this as helping anything. At least from their end of things.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe - P.J. Hairston eager to put UNC troubles in past (Sunday Notes) | LeBron James, Heat ready to even score | Hondo hosts fundraiser on the Vineyard | Steve Ballmer has managed quite well since graduation