Getting Kevin Love shouldn’t make or break the Celtics’ offseason.
Obviously over the past few weeks Kevin Love has been on my mind. With all the trade reports out there and Celtics fans clamoring for fireworks, I’ve been more saturated with Love than any Valentine’s Day I’ve been apart of. Yea, that serious.
Like every Celtics’ fan, I was – and all be it, still am – in Love with the idea of getting Love. When rumors first came out that Love was being shopped and that the Celtics had all the picks to get it done, I was ecstatic. This is the only way to describe my ecstasy:
But I’ve come to a point where now the Love doesn’t glow as strongly as it once did. My Love is dying and I’m trying to figure out what that means.
The most popular reason I’ve seen Celtic’s fans give not making the trade is that they don’t want to give up Jared Sullinger because he could become Kevin Love. That’s not the reason for my sudden change of heart. That reason is poppycock.
Love is easily a top 10, maybe top 5 player in the NBA. I feel like people at times overlook that. Kevin Love is a game changer at the power forward spot. This season he averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, shot 45% from the floor and 37% from three. He was the fourth best scorer in the league and the third best rebounder. He’s in the same league as the Truth when it comes to clutchness (yup thats a word), and he can out rebound an entire team. He’s got post game, pick and pop game, pick and roll game, and just chilling at the three point game. His offense is undeniable. His defense is a bit lackluster. But we look past that when it comes to top NBA players (James Harden anyone?). This guy doesn’t just grow on trees.
So to say that Jared Sullinger will become Love is crazy. There is no guarantee that Sully will become as good as Love, not because Sully is bad, but simply because Love is that good. Even if Sully does reach Love’s level at some point in his career, that isn’t going to happen next season. Nope nope nope. It’s going to take at least two years for Sully to become a consistent 20 pts 10 boards a game kind of player. It took Love that long. I understand it would be fun to develop Sully and see him become an All-Star – IF he can reach Love levels – but we don’t have the time to do that.
This trade would be about winning now. Hell, that’s what this entire offseason is going to be about. The Celtics want to win now. They want to move past last season and get better now. I want to move past last season. I want the Celtics to put out a team that can compete for the playoffs and one that I can cheer for, not quietly hope fails down the stretch. If they tank another season, it’ll be extremely hard to keep Rondo around on this roster, I can promise you that. Getting Love is to make the team instantly better. The Celtics are on a clock and we don’t have time to wait for Sully to become Love, let alone time to wait for rookies to become star players, just to silence those who think we need to trade up and draft Embiid or Parker or whomever.
Now, what is my point with all this? A fair question. I guess I sometimes get so wrapped up in a player that I feel they are the make or break key to a team, especially when it comes to the offseason. And let’s be honest, everyone is guilty of this.
For the Patriots’ offseason, I said – and wrote multiple times – that their number one priority was to bring back Aqib Talib, and if they let him walk, the offseason would automatically become a failure. Well, Talib quickly left for Denver and more money and weed than he knows what to do with. Would I consider the Patriots’ offseason a failure? Hell fucking no. They went and signed arguably the best corner in the NFL in Darrelle Revis. So of course signing Talib at the beginning of the offseason seemed like a 100% needs to happen idea, but ultimately it wasn’t. And the Pats were better for it.
So, tying this all back to Love, my worry is something similar with happen with the Celtics. I was already in that camp, the camp of “we need to do everything possible to get Kevin Love or else this offseason is a failure”. I still kind of am. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how many pieces to the Love trade we would need in order to make it worth while. “Renting” Love for a year is stupid. I hate that idea. Trading for him hoping that he will re-signs is also stupid. If I’m giving up four future first rounders, Sully and say Brandon Bass, I want Love to stick around for the best parts of his career. And I’m hoping that locking Love up long term locks up Rondo long term. Is that really possible though? I don’t know. I know Love likes Boston and would enjoy being here but does he want to stick around here for the next five years or so? Maybe. And even then, Kevin Love doesn’t solve our biggest problem.
The Celtics’ number one problem is a lack of rim protection, something Love does not bring with him. There are players out there (looking at you Larry Sanders) who are excellent rim protectors who could come cheaper than expected due to their situations with the team or the fact that they disappeared in the playoffs. (OH! Roy Hibbert! I didn’t see you there!) So if one of these guys is available, and we don’t need to give up a kings ransom for them, would I be ok with keeping Sully, getting a player like Sanders and maybe keeping our 6th pick in the draft? Yes. That is perfectly fine.
Basically it comes down to this, the Celtics don’t need to get Kevin Love in order to make this offseason a success. Love would cost a lot of picks and players (some of whom could become extremely good), his future with the C’s would be unknown, and he doesn’t solve the Celtics problem protecting the rim. If you can work your magic Ainge and get Love for ‘cheap’ (and by cheap I mean two players, threeish picks), then by all means get him. But don’t have a “whatever it takes” mentality. I’m worried that will leave us unable to get any other players. Leave that to the Knicks or the Lakers.
Ainge is smart and he won’t go running into trade talks willy nilly. He has a plan and that plan may or may not involve Kevin Love. Either way, I’m ok with it.
In Danny Ainge I trust. Just don’t trade Rondo. Or Kelly. But other than that, go for it.