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.
And while Minnesota has certainly discussed trading Love, who, without a contract extension, can be an unrestricted free agent next summer, it’s also possible that Flip Saunders, the club’s coach and president of basketball operations, could choose to keep his best player a little longer. The thinking would be that either the Wolves improve and make Love want to stay or that a better deal will present itself before next season’s trade deadline.
At present, however, what the Celtics have to offer isn’t getting it done. According to a source, the first-round picks they own from the Nets are not seen as being of overwhelming value, and, where the Celts had an Al Jefferson to offer Minnesota for Kevin Garnett six years ago, neither Jared Sullinger nor Kelly Olynyk rises to that level in the Wolves’ eyes this time around.
As for the Celtics’ No. 6 overall pick, one NBA source has been told directly that Minnesota believes it can get a player of equal quality later in the first round. The Timberwolves hold the 13th pick, but multiple offers would allow them to select higher.
Welcome to Trade Negotiations 101. I guarantee Flip Saunders had a minion call Steve Bulpett with this story in an attempt to get Boston to up the offer.
Denver is intriguing because they could offer Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari, but the key is Love agreeing to sign an extension with the Nuggets. Does Love really trust Denver’s front office to build a contender the way he apparently trusts Danny Ainge? Call me when Love spends a weekend in the Mile High City.
If Denver and Golden State were legit options, Minnesota would have made phone calls to the media saying those offers aren’t good enough. This is a clear cut attempt to squeeze more out of Danny Ainge.
I think Bill Simmons is right on the money:
If TWolves trade Love, Celts are heavy favs to get him now. GS won’t discuss Klay T. + Bulls are focused on Melo. Boston trumps anyone else.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 18, 2014
Nice try, Flip. What else you got?
UPDATE: ESPN’s Chad Ford is skeptical of Denver offer:
I was told by a good source in Minnesota that as of Monday, the Celtics had the best offer on the table and were the favorites to land Love. I think Bill Simmons reported something similar today. I know the Boston Herald just said the opposite — that the Warriors and Nuggets had made better offers. But I’m skeptical. The Warriors won’t include Klay Thompson (at least not yet). And the Nuggets? They have the 11th pick. They have Kenneth Faried. But what else? Gallinari? Hickson? I don’t think that’s a better offer than the Celtics.
I think Boston is one of the three or four places Love would be happy to land. I think he’d re-sign.