Not long ago, the Celtics were the leading contender for Kevin Love.
Considering a follow-up report said Boston’s offer wasn’t good enough, the Timberwolves were probably just trying to drum up interest.
Since, interest in Love has really heated up. The Cavaliers, willing to offer Andrew Wiggins, are the main contender – and they’re growing stronger. The Warriors, as long as they have Klay Thompson, remain in the mix. And the Bulls aren’t going away either.
So the Celtics – whose offer is based primarily on draft picks that may or may not interest the win-now Timberwolves – see the writing on the wall.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northwest:
There’s no waiving of the white flag just yet, but the Boston Celtics appear to be ready to move on from their pursuit of Minnesota star Kevin Love, league sources tell CSNNE.com.
“The more teams step up and show interest in Love, the further Boston falls in the pack,” a source said on Wednesday. “Danny’s a smart guy. He knows when to keep pushing for something and when to move on.”
Remember, a report said the Celtics would trade Rajon Rondo if they couldn’t get Love. That prospect certainly gets a lot more interesting now.
Rondo becomes a free agent next summer, and the Celtics probably aren’t much closer to winning than they were last season. This is the time to get value for Rondo. Another year of rebuilding won’t endear Boston to Rondo and just increases the chances of him walking.
First-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young and the unguaranteed contracts of Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson, Chris Babb and Phill Pressey give the Celtics flexibility to go in any direction. With Love no longer central to their plans – though they could still get involved if the Love trade adds a third team – it’ll be interesting to see which path they choose.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.