|Celtics choice: Kevin Love vs. Paul George||05.26.16 at 10:39 am ET|
As the days pass leading up to June’s NBA Draft, we want to encourage the debate regarding what the Celtics should do with the No. 3 overall pick. In that spirit, we present, “Celtics choice.”
Today: Using the No. 3 pick to trade for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love or Pacers forward Paul George.
The case for Love
At 27, one of the best pure scoring forwards in the game is in his prime. Returning from shoulder surgery, he scored 27 of his season-high 34 points in the first half of the Cavaliers’ win over the Magic in November. On Jan. 29, 2016, he had his best game since November 23, scoring 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting in a win over the Detroit Pistons. That game also marked the first time all season that Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each reached 20 points in a game. He helped the Cavaliers finished the regular season as the first seed in the East with a 57–25 record. For the second straight season, he was the perfect complement to James and Irving, after overcoming his shoulder problems that started with Kelly Olynyk in the first round of the ’15 playoffs. He finished this season averaging 16 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. In the first round of the playoffs, Love recorded playoff career highs with 28 points and 13 rebounds in a Game 1 win over the Pistons.
The case against Love
Consistency. Last July, Love re-signed with the Cavaliers on a 5-year, $113 million max deal. He has four years left on it. Love can have games where he shows exactly why he’s paid so handsomely. He can also go long stretches where his production drops way off. In Games 3 and 4 against the Raptors, both losses, Love was 5-for-23 with 13 points total in the two games. Starting with a Christmas Day loss at Golden State, he went a full month and scored just 20 points once in 17 games. His numbers have dropped off in Cleveland. The drop from 26 points per game to 16 a game the last two seasons in Cleveland is understandable with LeBron and Irving scoring so much. But the falloff in rebounding is more alarming, as he’s gone from a league-leading 15.4 rebounds a game in Minnesota in 2011-12 to 9.9 rebounds per game in Cleveland. Danny Ainge has always like long, athletic shooters from the wing and has been looking for one but the question is whether Love is really worth the $113 million?
|Are the Celtics the 3rd team in a Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson trade?||02.17.16 at 9:30 pm ET|
The on-again, off-again Kevin Love discussion are apparently on again. Or not.
The Cavaliers have discussed a deal with the Pelicans that would bring Ryan Anderson back to Cleveland, according to The Vertical’s Marc J. Spears, and that potential trade could send Kevin Love packing to a third team, according to New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola.
Those reports have led to rampant speculation that the C’s could be that third team, as Danny Ainge has long lusted after Love and has the assets to live out his desires. As with the three-team deal involving Love’s Cavs, Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks and the Celtics, these reports should be taken with a silo of salt.
Thus ends the latest round of Kevin Love rumors. Until an hour from now, when they’re off again.
ESPN NBA analyst Jackie MacMullan checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming NBA trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
MacMullan feels the Celtics and Danny Ainge will make another run at Kevin Love. She feels Love has gotten a “raw deal” in Cleveland, but ultimately she doesn’t think Love will be dealt because of where the Cavaliers are at in the standings.
“I do believe that Danny is going to make another run at Kevin Love because we know that he’s coveted Love all along,” MacMullan said. “The one thing that I think is interesting about Love, everybody is down on him — well, he stretches the floor, which we know Brad Stevens likes, right? Well, he can’t defend and I don’t know how you guys feel about real plus/minus, I tend to be a fan and I am sure the Celtics have things that are much more sophisticated than what we use at ESPN for real plus/minus, but just for the heck of it, I looked it up this morning on Kevin Love. He’s 12th overall in the league. That is pretty good.
“His defensive numbers right now — his defensive plus/minus is better than his offensive plus/minus. I think Kevin Love gets a raw deal when it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers and maybe why they aren’t performing maybe as well as they should. In fact, we know Kyrie Irving is coming off some pretty severe injuries, look at his numbers, they are horrible. His defensive real plus/minus is minus 3.22. The only point guard who plays significantly in the league that is worse are guys like Brandon Knight and actually Derek Rose. I think Kevin Love gets a raw deal.
“I would be thrilled if the Celtics could bring Kevin Love here, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If I am Cleveland, I’m the best team in the East and we all know every team — Golden State, San Antonio, they are one injury away from being vulnerable, I’m standing pat for the most part.”
To hear the complete interview, check it out below.
|Report: Celtics awaiting word on Kevin Love meeting||07.01.15 at 10:32 am ET|
In a tie-up with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Love suffered a dislocated left shoulder that required surgery. The injury knocked Love out for the remainder of the playoffs, as the Cavs won the Eastern Conference before losing to the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Last summer, as a member of the Timberwolves, Love was the subject of many trade rumors and the Celtics were reportedly in the mix to land the All-Star. Boston was sent into a frenzy when Love was seen with then-Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo while taking in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park last summer.
In the end, the Timberwolves traded Love to the Cavs for package that included 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.
Love opted out of his contract in June and became a free agent, but many reports suggest that he is likely to re-sign in Cleveland.
‘ Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015
|Report: Kevin Love opts out of Cavaliers contract||06.24.15 at 2:51 pm ET|
Love was due to make $16.7 million next season, and he indicated earlier this month that he planned to remain in Cleveland. If he has altered his thinking, Celtics president Danny Ainge is expected to make a run at him.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that if Love is serious about free agency, the Celtics are expected to sell him on the plan that they also will attempt to sign Robin Lopez and Paul Pierce this offseason.
Love was injured during the Cavs’ sweep of the Celtics in the playoffs’ opening round when Kelly Olynyk pulled his arm out of its socket while the two were chasing a loose ball. Led by LeBron James, the Cavaliers still managed to reach the NBA Finals, pushing the Warriors to six games.
The Lakers and possibly the Trail Blazers reportedly will be active in pursuing Love as well.
|Report: Celtics losing interest in Kevin Love||06.09.15 at 10:59 am ET|
Love has stated recently that he intends to return to the Cavs, but he can still hit free agency next month. Were Love to test the market, the Celtics are anticipated to be among the list of suitors. However, according to Bulpett: “The Celtics will very likely wind up an afterthought as Love examines his options in the next two months.”
Celtics‘ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was reportedly enamored with Love last offseason, wanting to pair the All-Star power forward with now-departed point guard Rajon Rondo. Last offseason, Ainge reportedly offered the Timberwolves a deal for Love, yet they were not amused by the offer. Instead, the Celtics went on to make the playoffs without Rondo and Love.
Based on reports, Love has raised some red flags due to persistent health issues. With weak knees and back issues, many in the NBA do not expect his career to last as long as the average player.
“I think he wants to be in a good situation,” one league exec from outside the area told Bullpett. “But I also think he’s concerned about his health, so he wants to get a good long-term contract. I still think he stays in Cleveland.”
|Celtics really should be eyeing these free agents this offseason||05.31.15 at 1:53 pm ET|
The Celtics are heading toward a big summer in 2015, as Danny Ainge will do his best to reel in a top-tier free agent who could help the Celtics become a top team in the Eastern Conference next season.
The Celtics, who were swept by the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, need help in the front court. The Celtics didn’t have a go-to scorer, nor did they have anyone who could rebound against Cleveland. Scoring and rebounding are two statistical categories the Celtics most need help in.
Ainge will take a crack at signing unrestricted free agents such as Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but chances are those players will end up staying in Memphis and Portland, respectively. Same goes for restricted free agents like Golden State’s Draymond Green and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard; two players who will stay where they are or go to another title contender out west.
But there’s still plenty of talented free agents available who could be looking for a change of scenery. Here are four free agents the Celtics could sign this summer.
Greg Monroe, PF/C
2014-15: 16 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists
The unrestricted free agent will be attracting attention from a lot of teams this summer. Monroe is a good rebounder whose consistent offense is something the C’s need out of their front court. He can score with his back to the basket and is the most realistic free agent candidate on this list for the Celtics. This past season, Monroe averaged a double-double for the first time in his career. Adding Monroe to the offense would make the Celtics a top-five team in the East next season. Even though Ainge may have Kevin Love listed above Monroe on his free agent wish list, Monroe most likely will sit atop of Ainge’s list after Cleveland ultimately signs Love back for one more season.
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