Report: Celtics will either get Kevin Love or likely trade Rajon Rondo

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Their top player can become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, and he’s not pleased about missing the playoffs. No doubt, they should seriously address the situation this summer before it’s too late.

The Timberwolves and Celtics are in the same boat.

Kevin Love’s desire to escape Minnesota is definitely stronger, but Rajon Rondo might not be long for Boston if the Celtics don’t improve next season.

So, the Celtics are trying to solve both teams’ problems at once – giving the Timberwolves compensation for their disgruntled star and themselves a better chance of making their star happy. If that fails…

Steve Bulpett of the BostonHerald.com:

If the Celtics cannot get Love, they are planning to continue with the longer and more methodical rebuilding process, a process that would likely see Rajon Rondo traded. (An NBA source said they would also have a taker for Jeff Green if they chose to move him.)

So far, according to a source, they have offered the Nos. 6 and 17 picks in this year’s draft, Kelly Olynyk and one of their own future No. 1 picks. They also own two more first-rounders from the Nets and one from the Clippers after this season, and the Celts are said to be certainly willing to discuss different combinations of their assets.

But, and this is important to note, they and the Timberwolves had, as of yesterday, yet to engage in anything resembling a true back-and-forth negotiation.

Obviously, this means a lot is at stake for the Celtics in their negotiations with the Timberwolves.

Whether or not Boston was in good position to land Love, the Warriors made the task much harder by offering to trade Klay Thompson. Increasingly, indications are the Timberwolves want at least one player capable of producing immediately. In that sense, Thompson blows Olynyk and Jared Sullinger – and any Celtic other than Rondo – out of the water.

This very well could be the another domino toward Boston trading Rondo.

Of course, that’s true only if the Celtics want it to be. They’ve obviously caught Love fever and are willing to put a lot of effort into acquiring him, but if Minnesota deals him elsewhere or keeps him, there’s still plenty of time to find a new target.

Rondo, 28, is young enough to remain good when the Celtics are next competitive. But he’s also old enough and competitive enough that he might seek greener pastures, passing up the larger contract Boston can offer, as a free agent this summer.

The Celtics should either get him help or trade him while they can still get compensation. Love is an answer, though not the only one. Armed with draft picks, Boston can deal for immediate help beyond Love.

But, yes, if the Celtics fail to land Love, their prospects of keeping Rondo grow dimmer.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.