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Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘Kevin [Love] knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston’

06.03.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics and Kevin Love. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Love’s name has sparked trade rumors since the power forward made it clear that he does not plan to re-sign with Minnesota after next season. The Celtics are one of those teams that appear to be interested, which is why Mannix said it’s no coincidence he was spotted in Boston this past weekend.

“I think it’€™s worth getting excited about,” Mannix said. “I think that Kevin knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston. I grew up there, I love the town, but nobody vacations in Boston this time of year. The guy just finished a long season, why wouldn’t he go home to Washington state or go back to Southern California to take a break? I think there was a reason for that trip.

“Look, he’€™s made it clear through his representatives to Minnesota that he has no intentions of re-signing there after next season. They’€™re going to opt out of the contract and they’€™re going to look elsewhere for better opportunities. … I don’€™t think it happens before the draft, but sometime this offseason I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Love is moved.”

Mannix said he doesn’t expect Love to be dealt before the draft due to “salary cap ramifications.” But, he said Love’s trip to Boston was meant to “put a little more pressure on Minnesota to make a move.”

“I think there’€™s a subliminal message there. He’€™s putting it right in Flip Saunders‘€™ face,” Mannix said. “Look, Flip reacted to it somewhat negatively. … I don’€™t think they were entirely pleased with Kevin’€™s trip to Boston, the fanfare that it received. I guess if he wanted to he kind of could’ve flown under the radar, but he was at moments pause taking pictures with people, showing up at Red Sox games, taking a picture with Rajon Rondo, bumping into Rajon Rondo in the stadium. What are the odds that was a coincidence?”

Boston may just be the first stop on this tour, too. Mannix said other teams that are legitimate contenders for Love include the Warriors and the Lakers. But he also said there are less-discussed teams that he expects to show interest as well.

“The other part of it you have to be wary about is there are other teams, like Sacramento, that will take on Kevin Love without any kind of guarantee that Love will re-sign there in the long term,” he said. “And if you’€™re a team like Sacramento, who also has a top-10 pick, a boatload of good young talent, you could make an appeal for Sacramento as well.

“I don’€™t think is a small number of teams that could take on Kevin Love. I think there are eight or nine teams that could be realistic options if Minnesota trades him.”

The asking price for Love certainly would be high, but Mannix said he doesn’t think the Celtics should settle for giving up a handful of their draft picks to acquire him.

“It depends on the number of picks that are sent Minnesota’€™s way,” he said. “Now, if it’€™s a package that’€™s centered around the sixth pick, maybe Jared Sullinger and maybe one future pick and a fill of salaries to make the deal work, I’€™m OK with that. Kevin is 25 years old, and although he hasn’t proven himself to be a franchise player yet — he hasn’t taken his team to the playoffs — he arguably still is the best power forward in all of basketball.

“Unlike with Kevin Garnett, your window with him is more than four or five years. Your window with him might be 10 years. So it’€™s worth giving up a little bit more for Kevin Love because of the length of time you have him as your franchise centerpiece.

“Minnesota, I don’€™t expect them to make a move quickly at all. I think they’€™re going to take the temperature of maybe every team in the league to try to see what they can get for Kevin and how much they can extract from a team.”

Read More: Chris Mannix, Kevin Love, Middays with MFB,
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