By Dan Feldman
The Minnesota Timberwolves say they don’t want to trade Kevin Love. Seriously, they don’t. They insist.
OK, maybe they’ll trade him later. Minimum, they’ll keep him until draft night.
Despite all this posturing, the Timberwolves are getting offers for their disgruntled star player. As soon as word spread Love wants out of Minnesota – and likely even before – teams across the NBA began sending the Timberwolves trade proposals.
Minnesota can either completely ignore these offers or evaluate them. Seems like the latter is a wiser option, even if the Timberwolves don’t want to act on them.
The Bulls emerged early as a potential suitor, and the Celtics reportedly have interest too. Love fanned those flames by visiting Boston, but just two catches – the Celtics don’t have cap room, and Love isn’t a free agent anyway.
Reportedly, Boston made Minnesota an offer, though. It just isn’t good enough.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com:
The Timberwolves privately maintain they already have fielded better offers from other teams, among them the Chicago Bulls
On the merits, the Celtics can make pretty intriguing offers – more on that later – but they might have to come substantially stronger than other teams, because Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and president/coach Flip Saunders don’t jive with Boston.
Taylor still hasn’t recovered from the last seismic Minnesota-Boston transaction, which led to a Celtics championship. In fact, sources in Minnesota say, the thought of conducting another major transaction with Boston gives Taylor great pause.
Some of McHale’s friends, including Ainge, felt Saunders undermined McHale, his former college teammate, during his final days in Minnesota.
When Doc Rivers hired Saunders as a “postseason consultant” for the Celtics during the 2012 playoffs, the interaction between Flip and Ainge was minimal and noticeably cool.
MacMullan doesn’t detail Chicago’s and Boston’s offers, but both teams have plenty of assets, including all their own future first-round picks.
The Bulls could offer some combination of:
- No. 16 pick in 2014 draft
- No. 19 pick in 2014 draft
- Top-10 protected pick from the Kings between 2015 and 2017
- Better of their own and the Cavaliers’ 2015 first-round picks (as long as Cleveland falls outside the lottery)
- Nikola Mirotic’s rights
- Jimmy Butler
- Taj Gibson
- Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract (to make salaries match without making Minnesota take a long
It’s easy to see how Chicago could put together a tempting offer. It’s just a matter of how much the Bulls want to trade for a player who’s locked up for only one – maybe two – more years.
But the Celtics, if they choose, could put together a pretty impressive offer of their own. In draft picks alone, they can offer a combination of:
- No. 6 pick in 2014 draft
- No. 17 pick in 2014 draft
- Lottery-protected 2015 first-round pick from 76ers (if Philadelphia misses playoffs, it becomes two second rounders)
- 2015 Clippers first-round pick
- 2016 Nets first-round pick
- Better of their own and the Net’s 2017 first-round picks
- 2018 Nets first-round pick
For example, Boston could offer some combination of its draft picks – along with Joel Anthony, Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson and either Phil Pressey or Chris Babb to make salaries match – for Love and agree to complete the trade as soon as the July moratorium ends.
Minnesota could immediately waive Bogans, Pressey, Johnson and Babb at no cost. Only the final year of Anthony’s contract ($3.8 million) would remain on the ledger. That’s significant – and more immediate than Chicago can offer – financial relief. The obvious hang-up is which picks to include.
Boston could also include Kelly Olynyk and/or Jared Sullinger, though that adds cost to the Timberwolves. Regardless, there are options.
Without question, the Celtics have more than enough to pry Love – at least unless the Bulls have made an incredible offer that exceeds expectations.
So, MacMullan’s report tells me either Chicago is offering too much for Love or Boston has, at least so far, refused to offer enough. But if the Celtics want Love, they probably have the assets to make a strong offer.
They just haven’t yet.