|The official Celtics-centric Kevin Love timeline||06.19.14 at 9:02 pm ET|
The Celtics-centric story surrounding Kevin Love actually began before the All-Star break, but Boston’s Love affair reached “Fatal Attraction” levels when the three-time NBA All-Star spent three days in the city a few weeks back.
Since then, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and Celtics counterpart Danny Ainge have seemingly pulled the puppet strings masterfully, casting sources in a drama worthy of Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. The plot thickens every day, so here’s the storyboard updated through the latest episode.
- Feb. 16, 2014: Love declares, “Boston is a great city.”
- Feb. 19, 2014: The Celtics are in Love’s sights.
- Feb. 26, 2014: The Celtics are the odds-on favorite to acquire Love.
- May 18, 2014: The Celtics, Warriors, Lakers and Suns are making hard runs at Love.
- May 18, 2014: The Celtics are “the sleeper gathering momentum” for Love’s services.
- May 19, 2014: Love likes the Warriors and Bulls.
- May 26, 2014: The Kings would trade for Love without assurance he’d re-sign.
- May 26, 2014: Love wants out by July 1.
- May 30-June 1, 2014: Love spends a weekend in Boston.
- June 16, 2014: Love won’t be traded by July 1.
- June 2, 2014: The Timberwolves expect Love to remain in Minnesota.
- June 3, 2014: The T-Wolves aren’t interested in Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley or Kelly Olynyk.
- June 4, 2014: Sacramento “will trade anything but [DeMarcus] Cousins,” lead in Love sweepstakes.
- June 9, 2014: The Suns will offer Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and picks for Love.
- June 11, 2014: At a video game conference, Love will answer all questions except those related to the Celtics.
- June 17, 2014: A C’s offer of the No. 6 and 17 picks, future No. 1(s), Sullinger and Olynyk is the best offer.
- June 18, 2014: The Nuggets and Warriors have better offers than the Celtics.
- June 18, 2014: The Celtics are the “heavy favorites” to acquire Love.
- June 19, 2014: Denver’s offer of Kenneth Faried, No. 11 pick, Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson is better.
- June 19, 2014: The Warriors will include Klay Thompson in a deal for Love, becoming odds-on favorite.
- June 19, 2014: The Timberwolves aren’t prepared to trade Love — yet.
For more analysis, read about Ainge’s final play for Love.
|Joel Embiid, the Celtics and an NBA foot fetish||06.19.14 at 4:12 pm ET|
Projected top-three pick Joel Embiid will undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, navicular stress fracture surgery requires 3-4 months of recovery, although fellow 7-footers Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Yao Ming needed more time following similar injuries. Embiid is scheduled for surgery on Friday; training camp is less than four months away.
If teams weren’t already fearful of a freshman 7-footer with just four years basketball experience who also sprained his knee and suffered a season-ending back injury in 2014, you better believe they’re rethinking their draft boards.
The question is whether Embiid will fall from a potential No. 1 overall selection and surefire top-three pick to the Celtics with the sixth pick. Teams haven’t always shied away from selecting injury-plagued bigs with the first few picks in the past, but the Greg Oden saga may have finally changed the landscape.
Take Nerlens Noel, for example. Once believed to be a lock at No. 1 in last year’s draft, the Everett native fell to the 76ers at six. Granted, Noel’s ACL injury necessitated a redshirt season of sorts, but the wealth of talent in this year’s draft may also force teams drafting in the top five to consider a healthy Dante Exum, Marcus Smart or Aaron Gordon over an injured Embiid, even if he could return sooner rather than later.
Likewise, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia spending a second straight lottery pick on an injured center. And given the presence of young centers Nikola Vucevic in Orlando and Enes Kanter in Utah, it’s certainly not inconceivable Embiid drops to the Celtics if the Cavaliers and Bucks pass on him with the first two picks.
|Irish Coffee: Doug McDermott, Aaron Gordon and Celtics philosophy||06.12.14 at 6:05 pm ET|
As the Celtics begin welcoming a revolving door of NBA prospects into the their practice facility, two of the more intriguing options found their way to Waltham on Thursday, offering an interesting dichotomy for the C’s front office.
On the one hand, you have Creighton’s Doug McDermott, 22, the NCAA‘s Wooden and Naismith award winner best known in Boston for recreating Larry Bird‘s famous Sports Illustrated cover. The 6-foot-8 senior also happens to be a scoring machine, averaging 26.7 points on 64.4 true shooting this past season. A stat geek’s dream.
For the record, McDermott downplayed the Bird connection, as he should. Dougie McBuckets is no Larry Legend.
“It’s really not fair,” he told reporters after his workout. “I don’t think you can compare anyone to Larry Bird. There’s just not going to be another one. It’s good to have a guy like that for everyone to look up to, all these young guys, myself included. That’s the best of the best right there — him and Magic [Johnson] and Michael [Jordan], those guys. You can’t compare guys to those three, I don’t think. I just take pieces of his game and try to apply it to mine.”
On the other hand, you have Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, 18, the youngest player in the draft and best known in Boston for falling asleep on the T while in town for his sister’s Harvard graduation a couple weeks back. The 6-foot-9 forward is shooting challenged, but uber-athletic, versatile and defensive-minded. A talent scout’s dream.
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it? While McDermott models himself after Bird, Gordon is more of a Magic man.
“I loved how he could control the game,” Gordon told the media following Thursday’s Waltham workout. “He kinda broke the foundation of what basketball is really about — how guards have to be little and bigs have to be big. I like how creative he was with the basketball. He kinda brought a lot of flash to the game.”
|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo wakes up America||06.05.14 at 12:57 pm ET|
The biggest thing we learned — other than the fact Channing Tatum may be a better Pop-A-Shot player than the Celtics point guard — is that Rondo finally made his desire for “big changes” this summer public. He’s skirted similar questions about this offseason’s supposed “fireworks” in recent interviews, so there’s that.
“Hopefully this summer we’re going to make some big changes, get the ball rolling and get back in the finals pretty soon,” said Rondo. “I know [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge is doing his job, and I’m going to go out every summer, do my job and get better.” (Might want to work on that Pop-A-Shot game, too.)
Here are Rondo’s responses to some more questions submitted by fans on Twitter.
|Irish Coffee: The Celtics’ Carmelo Anthony conundrum||06.04.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
As a disclaimer, “an insider at RealGM.com” isn’t a source worth lending any credence, so let’s take Bert A. Ramirez’s bizarre rumor bringing both Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony to Boston with enough salt to warrant Seabass spitting in your burger, but we might as well examine whether it’s even possible under the NBA salary cap.
Using the Bill Simmons trade proposal as a jumping off point (both 2014 picks, both 2015 picks, Jared Sullinger, Keith Bogans and Brandon Bass for Love), here is the imaginary Celtics salary structure for 2014-15.
Kevin Love: $15.7M
Rajon Rondo: $12.9M
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Avery Bradley: $6.3M (RFA hold)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Vitor Faverani: $2.0M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.0M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
Chris Babb: $0.8M
That number exceeds the projected salary cap of $63.2 million, so the Celtics could not sign Anthony, even if he opts out, relinquishing an additional $33.2 million in potential guaranteed money from the Knicks. In this scenario, the Celtics would have to clear $23.8 million off the books in order to give Melo the maximum contract of four years and $95.9 million (2014-15: $22.5M; 2015-16: $23.5M; 2016-17: $24.5M; 2017-18: $25.5M). Here goes.
|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo, Don Draper, Kevin Love sales pitches||06.03.14 at 11:58 am ET|
When asked about his conversation with Timberwolves star Kevin Love at Fenway Park over the weekend, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo responded in typical Rondo fashion during an impromptu session with the Boston media as the C’s worked out a number of potential draft prospects in Waltham on Monday.
“I talked to Kevin for about 39 seconds,” said Rondo. “It wasn’t too long. We didn’t talk a lot.”
A lot can be said in 39 seconds. For example, “I love it here, and if you come to Boston, we’d instantly be a playoff team in the East. Danny Ainge knows how to build a championship team around All-Stars, so let’s do this.” That took less than 10 seconds. They could’ve still chatted about the weather and some restaurant recommendations.
“A pitch?” Rondo told reporters. “No, I think the only pitches that were thrown were by Jon Lester. He threw out a couple pitches. I didn’t pitch anything. I just told him to enjoy his time here.”
Not exactly a page out of Jordan Belfort‘s book. Rondo’s going to need to watch “Wolf of Wall Street” again.
“I trust a lot in Danny,” Rondo added. “He’s turned this thing around before, so I don’t not have any faith in Danny. I believe in Danny. I think we do need another big-time player, but that’s all his job. He’s working on that now.”
I don’t not have any faith in Danny. A ringing endorsement! A little more Gordon Gekko this time.
|Irish Coffee: Boston and The Kevin Love Freedom Tour||06.02.14 at 10:40 am ET|
Indulge me for a moment. If you were Kevin Love, the hottest NBA name not still playing basketball, and you were looking for a vacation, as Timberwolves president suggested over the weekend, would you come to Boston?
Don’t get me wrong. The Freedom Trail, Fenway Park and Newbury Street make for a nice little weekend and all, but if you’re looking to escape the never-ending trade rumor mill, wouldn’t you prefer an all-inclusive resort in, say, Hawaii over clam chowder and a Sam Adams? He’s got a nine-figure payday coming soon, after all.
Hey, maybe he’s a nerd at heart, trying to discover analytics at Harvard that can take his game to the next level.
‘ Eleonore Abou Ez (@Eleoabouez) May 31, 2014
Maybe the folks at Newbury Comics hooked him up with an early copy of the new 50 Cent album dropping Tuesday.