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.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.