Jun 20, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Their top player can become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, and he’s not pleased about missing the playoffs. No doubt, they should seriously address the situation this summer before it’s too late.
The Timberwolves and Celtics are in the same boat.
So, the Celtics are trying to solve both teams’ problems at once – giving the Timberwolves compensation for their disgruntled star and themselves a better chance of making their star happy. If that fails…
If the Celtics cannot get Love, they are planning to continue with the longer and more methodical rebuilding process, a process that would likely see Rajon Rondo traded. (An NBA source said they would also have a taker for Jeff Green if they chose to move him.)
So far, according to a source, they have offered the Nos. 6 and 17 picks in this year’s draft, Kelly Olynyk and one of their own future No. 1 picks. They also own two more first-rounders from the Nets and one from the Clippers after this season, and the Celts are said to be certainly willing to discuss different combinations of their assets.
But, and this is important to note, they and the Timberwolves had, as of yesterday, yet to engage in anything resembling a true back-and-forth negotiation.
Obviously, this means a lot is at stake for the Celtics in their negotiations with the Timberwolves.
Whether or not Boston was in good position to land Love, the Warriors made the task much harder by offering to trade Klay Thompson. Increasingly, indications are the Timberwolves want at least one player capable of producing immediately. In that sense, Thompson blows Olynyk and Jared Sullinger – and any Celtic other than Rondo – out of the water.
This very well could be the another domino toward Boston trading Rondo.
Of course, that’s true only if the Celtics want it to be. They’ve obviously caught Love fever and are willing to put a lot of effort into acquiring him, but if Minnesota deals him elsewhere or keeps him, there’s still plenty of time to find a new target.
Rondo, 28, is young enough to remain good when the Celtics are next competitive. But he’s also old enough and competitive enough that he might seek greener pastures, passing up the larger contract Boston can offer, as a free agent this summer.
The Celtics should either get him help or trade him while they can still get compensation. Love is an answer, though not the only one. Armed with draft picks, Boston can deal for immediate help beyond Love.
But, yes, if the Celtics fail to land Love, their prospects of keeping Rondo grow dimmer.
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