Blakely: Love shows open mind with trip to Boston

Blakely: Love shows open mind with trip to Boston
June 1, 2014, 6:00 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — It's too cold.

The taxes are too high.

The team isn't good enough.

Go ahead, pick a lame excuse and chances are pretty good that it's been used at some point to justify a player saying, 'thanks but no thanks' to the Boston Celtics.

But this Kevin Love guy seems different.

I mean think about it.

Kevin Garnett is one of the most beloved Celtics ever. Could you imagine him showing up at a local bar or eatery and start taking pictures with random fans? He didn't do it when he was a Celtic, so the idea of him doing it before is just plain crazy!

But again, Love seems different than any player the Celtics have had interest in pursuing who is still in the prime of their career.

He appears to genuinely want to find out about this place, not just from a basketball perspective but from a lifestyle angle as well.

And while all appears to have gone well for him, by no means should Love spending this past weekend in Boston be seen as a commitment or even an endorsement that Boston is where he wants to play.

What it does say is that, unlike other players Boston has targeted in the past, Love is looking at this from both a short and long-term perspective.

He knows that if he were to be traded to Boston, the Celtics would want a long-term commitment whether it be before the season started or when Love as expected, becomes a free agent in the summer of 2015.

Acquiring him without a long-term deal in place is a major, major gamble on the Celtics' part especially when you consider the kind of assets they'll likely have to surrender in order to get a deal done.

But to Love's credit, he's already displaying a level of open-mindedness to the process that no player on the cusp of free agency, has shown this franchise.

It doesn't matter how much Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders says he plans to keep Love, we all know that's just part of negotiating.

"The last I knew Kevin was under contract with us, and I expect him to be playing for us next year," Saunders told the Associated Press on Sunday after a workout of draft prospects. "I don't really dictate where guys go on vacation or what they do. They can go wherever they want to go."

He's right.

But Love just happening to be vacationing in a city that's potentially interested in trading for him? And it's not a typical summer destination for players like Miami or Orlando or Los Angeles?

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone other than Saunders who believes Love's trip to Boston and the Celtics' interest in him to be coincidental.

While that may be speculative, one thing we do know for sure is that Love made the decision to spend some time in Boston, and the 25-year-old all-star will leave with a better idea of what the city has to offer.

And while Boston's off-the-court life may be appealing, Love is far more concerned with the basketball side of things which is actually a positive for the Celtics.

One of Love's former teammates told CSNNE.com on Sunday that Boston's tradition and Danny Ainge's track record of building an elite team on the fly, are both qualities that are attractive to Love.

"I know Kevin wants to be somewhere where he can win, not necessarily a championship from Day One, but at least be on a path to doing that soon," the source told CSNNE.com.

Love would come to Boston with added motivation to not just play well, but win at a high level and thus solidify his status as one of the game's top players. He'll be playing alongside Rajon Rondo who like Love, is also heading into a contract year and will approach this season with added incentive to play the best basketball of his career as well.

But Boston's efforts in acquiring Love won't have a legit shot at fruition until shortly before the draft which is when teams seriously interested will put forth their best offers.

Between now and then, the Celtics will continue to monitor the situation and hope that their pursuit of Love, much like his weekend in Boston, is a successful one.