Referencing the Boston Celtics' desire to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, ESPN's Chad Ford said in his latest mock draft that "the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he's going to get." That report is quickly being squashed.
Sources of the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett believe that Boston isn't even in the conversation in terms of having appealing assets for the Timberwolves.
Do the Celtics have a chance?
Love's visit to Boston earlier in June came with a lot of coverage. This may have been a coincidence, but his interaction with local sports figures and fans gave a lot of evidence that he would be happy playing for the Celtics. Danny Ainge runs a tight ship, and coach Brad Stevens is considered a young mastermind. Love appreciates the history of the franchise, so there's reason to believe Boston can quickly become a contender with the pairing of Love and point guard Rajon Rondo.
And the Celtics do have decent enough assets to work out a deal. Minnesota president and coach Flip Saunders might covet face-up power forward Kelly Olynyk and bruising big Jared Sullinger. Boston also owns the sixth and 17th picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, and those packaged with another contract or two to make the financials work out are enough to entice the T-Wolves.
The bidding war has hardly begun
Bulpett's sources indicate that both the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors have more intriguing packages that might be on the table. Neither Sullinger nor Olynyk have the upside of players in Denver and Golden State -- specifically it's not known whether the Warriors could offer Klay Thompson, but Harrison Barnes is another high-upside option there. The Celtics' non-lottery first round picks aren't too appealing to the T-Wolves, either.
It goes beyond those two teams as well. The Cleveland Cavaliers apparently have interest and could even dangle their first overall pick this year. The Phoenix Suns have the 14th and 18th picks, plus a bigger stable of young players, including Alex Len and Archie Goodwin -- both are under 22 years old -- the Morris twins and center Miles Plumlee. And as ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported a few weeks ago, the Chicago Bulls join the list in terms of giving Love a landing spot where winning has already been established.
The Celtics can't say the same, even if their franchise has a strong track record.
The likelihood of Love becoming a Celtic
Aside from Boston's history of winning, there's a lot of options on the table for Minnesota and Love. Even if a trade doesn't force a team to blow up its roster entirely like Carmelo Anthony did in his move from the Nuggets to the Knicks a few years back, there are a good number of teams that can already outbid Boston. Unless the Celtics get a third party involved as Bulpett suggests, the chances of Love donning green is quite low -- give it a 2 out of 10 shot.