The Boston Celtics came close to adding Blake Griffin as an in-season acquisition this year, but ultimately lost out to the Brooklyn Nets — at least partially due to internal badmouthing. Now it appears as if the Cs may once again be in competition with the Nets this summer to acquire the service of yet another multiple-time All-Star big man.
With a Kevin Love breakup looming in Cleveland this offseason, the one-time NBA Champion is apparently calculating the next step in his career. According to Erik Slater of The Nets Report, if the five-time All-Star has his way, that next step would culminate in a move to Brooklyn.
“According to a source close to Kevin Love’s camp, Love and Kevin Durant will be rooming together during Olympic training camp in Las Vegas,” Slater wrote. “He also added that the Nets are at the top of Love’s list in the event he agrees to a buyout with Cleveland.”
With that said, the Nets aren’t the only team likely to snoop around the market for the Cavaliers forward. Per Hoops Wire’s Sam Amico, the Celtics are among a bevy of other teams who are “believed” to have an interest in adding Love in the event of a buyout or a trade.
It is believed the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, 76ers, Celtics and Heat are among other teams with an interest in Love.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Is Love Worth a Flyer?
On his current contract? Not quite. Love, 32, has two years and $60 million remaining on his deal. It’s difficult to envision Brad Stevens taking such a financial swing on a player coming off the worst statistical season of his career who has been riddled with injuries since 2018. Yet, things become far more appealing should the Cavs opt to buy Love out of his contract.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons recently noted that there is a “growing sentiment around the league that Love will negotiate a buyout with Cleveland and sign a veteran-minimum contract with a contender.”
Of course, you could question whether the Celtics should be considered true “contenders” after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the East this season. However, with arguably the league’s premier under-25-year-old duo (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) at their disposal and three Eastern Conference Final appearances over the past five years, we’ll chalk this past season up as a mere blip on the radar. Even if that’s not the case, there’s plenty of far less appealing situations Love could find himself in — including staying in Cleveland with a team that hasn’t sniffed the postseason since LeBron left in 2018.
Does Love Fit in Boston?
If you’re thinking Love will settle in as the third-musketeer alongside Brown and Tatum as he once did with LeBron and Kyrie Irving, you’ve got another thing coming. At this point of his career, the UCLA product is no longer the walking double-double that filled up the stat sheet during his heyday with the Timberwolves and early on in his Cavaliers career. However, he’s still a stretch big who, over the last seven seasons, has knocked down 37.4% of his shots from 3-point range — that alone should entice potential suitors.
Yes, the Celtics did recently re-acquire Al Horford, who seemingly already fills the stretch big niche on Boston’s roster. Then again, is there really any such thing as having too much shooting? This reigns especially true for a team that had their frontcourt clogged up with limited-ranged bigs such as Robert Williams and Tristan Thompson for the second half of the season following the Daniel Theis trade. Speaking of Thompson, there’s a strong possibility that the veteran is the next domino to fall in Stevens’ quest to “get in the mix.”
“There has been speculation the Celtics will look to trade Tristan Thompson after acquiring Al Horford,” reported The Athletic’s Jay King.
All in all, Love makes sense for Boston, albeit at the right price and with tempered expectations. Don’t expect the 13-year-pro to put up All-Star numbers in 2021. Yet, if he can produce even three-quarters of his career 18.0 points, 11.0 rebounds per game output, he’d warrant minutes in the Celtics frontcourt alongside Williams, Horford, Moses Brown and whoever else may be around next season.