The Boston Celtics plan to undergo a "methodical rebuilding process, including the trading of star point guard Rajon Rondo, if they cannot acquire Kevin Love this offseason, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The Celtics are one of many suitors presently pursuing the Minnesota Timberwolves' All-Star forward.
While it's looking increasingly likely that Love will be playing for a new team next season, it's unclear whether Boston has the necessary pieces to complete a deal. Bullpett says the team is offering the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in the 2014 draft, 2013 first-rounder Kelly Olynyk and another future first-round pick as the core assets in any deal.
That's not a terrible offer, but given the Timberwolves' stated goal to reach the postseason soon, Minnesota may prefer a deal that provides more immediate value. Teams like the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets, other rumored suitors, likely have more to offer in that department.
With the possibility looming that Love heads elsewhere, it appears Boston is ready for a busy offseason regardless. Whether it's trading for Love or trading away key veterans like Rondo and Jeff Green, who reportedly has a taker if Boston wants to pull the trigger, the Celtics appear ready to shake things up heading into next season.
Why this makes sense
A rebuild in Boston, assuming Love doesn't head there, seems like a reasonable next step. Under first-year head coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics had a pretty rough 2013-14, and while Rondo remains a respected veteran, he may fit better on a team with short-term aspirations.
Between Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Olynyk, the draft picks and whatever additional pieces the team might get for Rondo and Green, the Celtics could be moving in the right direction fairly quickly. Of course, the alternative where Love and Rondo partner up to challenge the Eastern Conference is probably preferable, but the Celtics may not have the assets.
If Boston can't complete a Love trade, it'll be due to the team's lack of young, prospective talent. In that case, making a move to load up for the future -- and potentially the next time a big star wants out -- could be the next logical step.
Why this doesn't make sense
Landing star players in the NBA is hard enough, and the Celtics appear to have one in Rondo, depending on who you ask. While a full-scale rebuilding project could potentially allow Boston to pursue big names in the future, why not simply keep working at building around the one you already have?
Rondo, for all his warts, has shown the ability to be a legitimate All-Star point guard, and that gives Boston one piece toward a contender. If Love doesn't end up joining the Celtics, it's possible another star in the near future will, but that likely doesn't happen if Rondo is playing elsewhere.
Love won't be Boston's only chance to land a star, but if the team chooses to rebuild, those subsequent opportunities come years down the line. If Rondo is still in house, convincing another star to come to Boston soon is a much easier proposition.
Likelihood: 5 out of 10
We've been hearing about these Rondo trade rumors for years, so it's hard to get too excited, but the idea of a Celtics rebuild seems more realistic than it has before. With Rondo trying to prop up a mediocre roster led by an inexperienced head coach, the team may really only have two options: add another star like Love soon, or blow the whole thing up. That's not really a sure thing, though, and the Celtics have always withstood the rumors to stick by Rondo's side. This just might be the latest bump in their up-and-down partnership.
But the Celtics could be seeing a different future, one where Rondo sticks with the team and mediocrity reigns. In that case, yeah, they'll probably blow things up.