With a bundle of draft picks both this year and in the future, the Boston Celtics have assets that could intrigue the Minnesota Timberwolves enough to get Kevin Love to Boston. The question Celtics fans don’t want to hear—but must be considered—is: what happens if they don’t get Love?
According to a report from The Boston Herald, the answer is that they will try to trade Rajon Rondo.
The Celtics have been considered one of the frontrunners in the race to acquire Love, and for good reason. Not only do they own the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in this year’s NBA Draft, but they also own multiple first round picks in 2015 (from the Clippers, thanks to the Doc Rivers “trade”), 2016, and 2018, plus the right to swap picks with the Nets (all thanks to the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade).
However, it’s becoming apparent that Minnesota also wants a player who can make an immediate impact in any deal. Apart from Jeff Green the Celtics don’t really have that, which means their odds of getting Love have certainly gone down.
Like Love, Rondo is in the last year of his contract and will become a free agent at the end of the year. While Rondo is still 29 years and has many productive years left, the Celtics do need to consider what the benefit of holding onto him would be if they continue to rebuild. Do they win 25 games instead of 20? The Herald report also indicates that they would look to move Green if they traded Rondo, stripping the team down to its component parts and truly rebuilding from scratch.
For the rest of the NBA, Rondo becoming available would be a dream scenario. As rare as a player like Love is, Rondo might have even more value; he’s a young, unselfish point guard who has tons of playoff experience and has been an All-Star four times. That type of cornerstone player does not come on the market often.
There are plenty of teams around the league that could use a non-ball dominant point guard (OKC anyone?), so the market for Rondo would likely be big. The trick, as with Love, would be to convince him to sign a long-term deal with his new team. While the Celtics are likely not fielding calls for Rondo just yet, all that may change in the coming days. GM Danny Ainge has never been afraid to roll the dice, and shipping Rondo out of town would certainly fit that description.
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