I know he's not everyone's favorite guy — but I love Bill Simmons' analysis. Maybe it's because he likes thinking of hypothetical situations (and so do I), maybe it's because he's from Boston and doesn't hide that (and so am I), or maybe it's because he made it big after starting from basically nothing in the industry. Or maybe it's simply that I find his writing very entertaining. Could be as simple as that.
But whatever the reason, I just like the way he uses critical thinking to try and predict what different teams may do going forward. He's no Woj, and therefore everything he writes should be taken with a grain of salt, but at this point he's pretty well engrained in the NBA's "inner circle", and his opinions shouldn't be completely ignored because of that.
And that's why when Simmons wrote that the Celtics are the favorites to trade for Kevin Love this summer (important distinction, as he names Love heading to LA next summer as the most likely scenario overall) -- it made my ears perk up a bit. Here's what he said about the Celts chances.
Like Love in Minnesota, Rondo can leave Boston in July 2015. And like Love, you can’t trade him unless it’s a team that (a) has assets to give back, and (b) could entice him into staying. Harder than you think. Houston and Dallas don’t have the assets. New York DEFINITELY doesn’t have the assets. A “Rondo to Sacramento for Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams’s expiring and the right for Boston to swap picks once in 2014, 2015 or 2016” deal makes sense on paper — and was seriously discussed last week, too — until everyone remembered that you’d have a better chance of seeing Rondo host an ABC late-night talk show of him playing Connect Four with celebrities called Connect Rondo than you would of seeing him spend the rest of his prime, five years, in Sacramento with Boogie Cousins.
So, what do you do? Well, aren’t you better off keeping Rondo — one of the league’s 15 to 20 best players when healthy — and finding him an All-Star teammate? Enter Kevin Love. They did it in 2007 with Paul Pierce and they could easily do it again: by paying a premium price for a second All-Star, suddenly it becomes MUCH easier to get that third All-Star. The Celtics couldn’t have convinced KG to play with just Pierce … but Ray Allen and Paul Pierce? The rest was history.
OK, so what happens if Boston throws its shamrock-shaped Asset Penis on the table and trumps everybody? Let’s say the Celtics lose the 2014 lottery and end up with a pick between no. 3 and no. 5. They could send that pick to Minny along with Atlanta’s first-rounder (probably ending up in the 13-to-18 range) and their 2015 Clippers pick for Love. And they could throw in Brandon Bass and Keith Bogans’s immediately waivable deal to make the contracts work. Oh, and if Minnesota were more interested in one or more of those future Brooklyn picks that Boston owns (unprotected in 2016 and 2018, pick swap in 2017), the Celts could discuss that, too. Remember, they have a WAR CHEST of picks: 10 in five years, including Brooklyn’s draft right as they’re entering the “Deron and Joe are old and Brook Lopez wears a suit to every game” phase of the Prokhorov era. You team up Love and Rondo and suddenly it’s 10 times easier to land that third All-Star. (You reading, Carmelo?) And yes, that deal could potentially net the Timberwolves three top-15 picks in a monster draft.
Odds of it happening: 3-to-1.
Simmons had the Suns (at 12:1), Lakers (15:1) and Bulls (4:1) as the other three teams listed, with the Celtics 3:1 odds being best.
Now I don't put a ton of stock into those odds, as they are simply Simmons' best guess and not an actual number that means anything. But the bottom-line is that Simmons is right -- the Celtics have more to offer Minnesota than basically anyone else does. Ten picks in five years including a likely top five pick in a loaded 2014 draft, and the 2016 Nets pick that looks better and better by the day.
As for Simmons offer — 2014 Celtics pick, 2014 Nets/Hawks pick, 2015 Clippers pick, Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans — I think that's an amazingly high price to pay, but it actually is pretty similar in value to the price the Celtics paid for KG back in 2007. Back then it was Al Jefferson, one very valuable draft pick (the Wolves 2009 pick that the Celtics owned), and one low first-round pick (2009 Celtics pick). In this deal Minnesota would get one immensely valuable draft pick (Celtics 2014), one pretty valuable one (Nets/Hawks 2014) and one at the end of the 2015 draft (Clippers).
Not perfect matches, but you can at least draw a comparison between the two packages.
In a prior post I (perhaps naively) hoped that the Celtics could grab Love without giving up their own 2014 pick. Something like Jared Sullinger, Bass, Bogans (immediately waived), 2014 Nets/Hawks pick, 2015 Celtics pick, 2016 Nets pick. Boston keeps their pick in exchange for adding in Sullinger (whom I consider redundant with Love in town) and the Nets 2016 pick.
Sure, that Nets pick could be at the top of the lottery. But it could also be a lot lower than that as Mikhail Prokhorov continues to throw money at the team instead of rebuilding. It's a valuable piece, but obviously not as valuable as a surefire top seven pick in this year's loaded draft.
Obviously in both cases the Celts are giving up a ton, but they're getting back a 25-year-old superstar just entering his prime to pair with Rondo. Of course the team would need to make more moves (depending on what else was left in the cupboard after the deal) before competing for anything more than a playoff spot, but a 28-year-old Rondo and a 25-year-old Love is a nice foundation. And if the Celtics could find a way to keep their pick in this year's draft..yikes.
So let's bring it to a vote, would you make the Simmons proposal (for the sake of the poll let's say the Celtics got the 4th pick..their current projected pick)?
Would you make the Mike Dyer proposal?
Is Love worth it to you? What would you give up? Is Rondo-Love even worth building around? Sound off in the comment section.
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Michael Dyer 2/26/2014 06:50:00 PM Tweet Edit