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.
The well of Celtics news has been dry lately, so bear with me:
1) The Celtics would have had to overpay to acquire Love
Trades in the NBA are largely predicated on distinct circumstances. Back in May, the Celtics loomed as one of the more likely destinations for Love, while holding an “intriguing” collection of future first round draft picks and young talent to offer Minnesota in a potential swap. Unfortunately, Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders had his heart set on building a competitive team for next year rather than rebuilding. Thanks to this, a collection of draft picks and inexperienced players with limited upside in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk didn’t appeal to Saunders.
Probably wouldn’t have considered a few first-rounders and either Olynyk or Sullinger as overpaying, but I can see where it starts to approach that line. The biggest risk in overpaying would have been mortgaging so many future assets for a player who could still opt out of his contract next year (and even possibly bolt for the Lakers). Sure, he’s never played a playoff game, and that makes him riskier, but his talents are good enough and he’s been consistent enough, that I don’t think offering so much future talent would have been overpaying. But the thought of him leaving after a single season, on the other hand…
2) A core of Love and Rondo wouldn’t have necessarily made the Celtics long-term contenders
It’s not a direct knock on either player, but a Rondo/Love led team not being a contender is a possibility. The fact that the Celtics would have had to sacrifice several young players and picks for Love would complicate things from a team-building standpoint for Ainge.
Look at it this way: In order to satisfy Love’s demands of being on a competitive team, both he and Rondo would likely need to be re-signed to long term deals when their contracts run out together next summer. The Celtics couldn’t afford to let Rondo walk and expect Love to still sign an extension. Max deals for both players would be worth five years and somewhere close to the $110 million mark, according to Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ, when you factor in estimates for the salary cap next season.
Don’t fully agree with this reasoning. Superstars are required to win in the NBA, and adding one is a necessary step in helping turn us into a contender again. Again, we all know Love isn’t experienced in the playoffs, but he’s only 25. If a Rondo-Love core isn’t at least capable of growing and competing in the East over the next few years, then we’d be better off trading Rondo and waiting until the storm passes — something I don’t think any Celtics fan wants to do. Yes, long-term contention is also contigent on Love staying in Boston on a new contract, but that isn’t really the point here. We’d still have had some form of young talent to surround him and Rondo with, and enough tools (more picks, mid-level exceptions, vet minimums etc.) to build a deep team. In a conference no longer dominated by Miami, this would have been a good start.
3) Why can’t the Celtics retain their assets and just make some noise in free agency next summer?
Boston’s history in free agency speaks for itself. They haven’t landed a big-name player for a long, long time. With that said, it’s important to think about this: Can you even name the last time current Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had the salary cap space to sign a big-name free agent?
The answer? It hasn’t happened in the Danny Ainge era. In more than 11 years at the helm in Boston, Ainge has never had significant salary cap room. So yes, the Celtics haven’t signed anyone with star power in recent memory, but they also haven’t had a realistic chance to do so.
This is probably what we’re headed towards. Wyc’s mentioned being an impatient owner when it comes tor returning to Big Three Era-style competitive basketball. His intention was to shoot for that to happen this summer, hence ‘fireworks’, but with that option far less likely, he and Danny may have no choice but to sweat it out — which really isn’t such a bad thing considering the talent pool that’ll be available in ’15. Though apart from all the centers available next summer, next year’s draft is also expected to be booming with big men, and as things stand now, we’re headed right back to a top lottery pick. If we’re really waiting ’til next summer to make a push, we won’t need to part with assets to sign a marquee guy and add another young top prospect. Though Ainge will be pretty busy doing all this while simultaneously trying to keep Rondo.
To sum up, I don’t think there are too many fans out there who are thrilled we’re missing out on Kevin Love (good thing 2015 is just a year’s worth of below-average basketball away).
Page 2: Marcus Smart is turning heads on the USA Select team
Celtics rookie Marcus Smart really opening eyes as member of Select Team in scrimmages vs Team USA. Going up against Kyrie, Rose, Wall, etc.
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 30, 2014
Not a bad list of players to ‘open eyes’ playing against. I know we’re just talkin’ about practice, but it’s definitely assuring to read a such a tweet. I forgot who wrote it exactly, but another tweet from USA Men’s practice mentioned he had also rediscovered his shooting stroke (something missing in Summer League); at one point yesterday, he pulled up and drilled three consecutive three-pointers. Not too bad when considering the competition.
The rest of the links:
Grantland - Kyle Korver, an Offense unto Himself | Jalen and Jacoby: Derrick Rose, Zach LaVine, and Hip-Hop Bracket Matchups
Fox Sports – Team USA Report: Durant opens up on LeBron move
CelticsBlog – Eric Bledsoe an option for the Boston Celtics