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Kevin Love is unhappy in Minnesota. While it would not be shocking news to hear that a player isn't happy with a small franchise that hasn't been successful for a very long time, Love's problem with the Wolves is not a typical case of superstaritis where the player practically runs the team and still creates problems. Shockingly, it's the opposite.

Love's talent and status has always been downplayed or doubted. He has wronged those who thought he wouldn't give enough. Yet he was smugly refused to right to become Minnesota's franchise player: no max contract. To top that, this is what the team owner had to say about him: "I don't think Kevin Love is a star, because he hasn't led us to the playoffs."

Are you not insulted? Well, there's more:

Perhaps those issues wouldn't still be so raw had the franchise responded differently when Love broke his hand in a preseason workout. In a regimen he's done most of his life, Love fractured a bone thrusting himself to his feet upon completion of a round of knuckle pushups. He missed a month on the floor, but his ears missed nothing from those in management whispering that maybe the injury didn't happen the way Love insisted it did.

"Even people in my own organization were asking if it was a legitimate injury, people calling my honesty and integrity into question," Love says. "And that's what really hurt me."

The good news is that his contract is designed in a way that makes it possible for him to walk out the door in 3 years. 3 years you say? Guess who is going to retire in 3 years:

In the past, we talked about why Celtics are not a popular destination for free agents anymore. Most players in NBA today value marketing, no taxes, hot weather etc. more than history, culture etc. There are only a handful who would choose Celtics over franchises in LA or NY. They're not called Paul, Wade, Howard etc. They are called Garnett, Durant, Love. (Is it a coincidence that all these guys are named Kevin? Hmm.)

Love has played in Minnesota for years, with a clear goal to become the franchise player. He doesn't care about weather. He regards the 62 mil/4 year contract as "beyond his wildest dreams". He doesn't care about money. He wants to be simply valued, with a strong chance at winning. He wants stability:
"You walk into the locker room every year, and it's completely turned over," Love says. "There's new guys everywhere. And then it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?"

Celtics have the core of the future if all goes well. It consists of Rondo, Bradley, Green (well, still 50/50 on that one, frankly) and Sullinger. What we don't have so far is a star frontcourt player in post-Garnett era, and unlikely trade scenarios that involve Josh Smith or Howard won't get us that.

Celtics attract players with Doc Rivers, Rondo and the professional organization they run. It's not a coincidence that every player reluctant to come to Boston have found it incredibly difficult to leave. We'll most likely have two of those factors, and maybe convince Doc to coach for another 5 years when his contract is up, who knows?

Paint your fa... Nah, never mind.
Add that to the fact that Garnett and Love share a lot. They have a common team, a common position, common characteristics (spread the floor, get rebounds, score at will) Heck, they even have a common first name. NBA loves stories like that. Remember an unsuccessful clown from Orlando not wanting to copy a successful clown's footsteps? Yeah, about that...

Now, of course 3 years is a very long time. Anything can happen. The Wolves can pull a Harden and deal him to another team where he'll be happy. He can change his mind if Wolves are actually successful. Wolves can change personnel (yet their history of sticking with Kahn through all this charade says something). Celtics might commit to some contracts that make this deal impossible; there is too much fine print in the new CBA. But as of now, Woj briefly summarizes the situation in 3 sentences:

If losing Kevin Garnett set back the Wolves, just watch how it turns out should Kevin Love walk out in his mid-20s. Somehow, the Wolves let this happen. Somehow, Glen Taylor and David Kahn are daring him.

In any case, there is one thing that is certain: Love would love playing for Celtics. We can offer everything he looks for. Celtics would love having him. He can offer everything we would like. To hear Love again: "I have a very, very good memory, and I always remember the people who have done right by me, and the people who have done wrong by me."

2015 is going to be a sad year. We will most likely lose both Garnett and Pierce. End of a magnificent era, no matter how many trophies we have at the end. Yet there is a chance that 2015 will become the start of a new magnificent era. Why shouldn't it be?

semioticus (shelbyl) 12/12/2012 12:41:00 PM Edit
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