Looking at some of the numbers today I realized there is a good chance the Cetls can't do both. Below I'll explain why, but the basic question stemming from this is... if you are Ainge and you have to choose between a trade for Asik (/Lin) or holding on to your assets hoping to convince the Twolves to part with Love, which do you do?
The Rockets pretty clearly want to clear a ton of salary cap room to go after a bigger name. Plus it is pretty obvious that they don't believe Asik and Howard can coexist. Luckily for them, the Celtics have a lot of non-guaranteed contracts and a big trade exception.
In order for them to realistically clear enough cap space to go after someone big, they need to move on from both Asik and Lin (and probably someone else). The Celtics can do that for them. Ainge can trade them Bogans and his trio of non-guaranteed hustle guys for either Lin or Asik and then use the Paul Pierce trade exception for the other. They get out of both contracts (maybe even throw another smaller sized contract in) and can now move along with their plans for the summer.
You may ask, why would Ainge go full bore and trade for both guys? Why not just use the trade exception for Asik and be done with it? For me, it is a question of leverage. If Ainge takes both Asik and Lin off their hands for no salary back this summer, he is making their dreams come true. Depending on how sly Ainge is, he could maybe get a pick or other asset from them. Certainly, he wouldn't have to add one of his own. To my knowledge, no other team can do this for them, so he would likely get a good deal.
Let's say the Celtics only offer the Pierce exception for Asik... it is well known that Morey thinks Asik is a valuable asset. He probably requires a first round pick or something else of value rather than just the exception. Ainge is no longer opening things up for him to do what he truly wants, but merely removing a malcontent. I wouldn't want to trade extra things for Asik if I were Ainge if I knew in a bigger deal I could potentially get even more.
So let's assume the Celtics get Asik and Lin in something close to the deals above. Now Minnesota decides they are willing to part with Love for the right deal. Do the Celts have what it takes any more?
I don't think so.
It used to be that Ainge could offer Sully, Olynyk, a bunch of non-guaranteed contracts, an expiring (Joel Anthony?) and a slew of draft picks to the Twolves for Love.
Now, the Celts don't have those non-guaranteed contracts any more. Other than draft picks (substantial, I know), Ainge is reduced to expiring contracts to pair with Sully and Olynyk. In fact, The Celts don't have enough expiring contracts, so the Twolves would have to take on salary past next year to offload their star. If I'm them in that scenario, I'd push for the Celtics to do a Bogans-style one year then unguaranteed year deal with Bayless or Humph (who is from that area I believe), but those would both hinge on one of those players being willing to sign that deal, which is not guaranteed. Both are younger and more skilled than Bogans and both could command multiple year deals.
Is it enough less that they wouldn't do the deal? Maybe. Maybe they're still stinging from the Garnet deal and the Celtics' offer would need to be miles ahead of other teams' offers to get them to accept it. Maybe they stubbornly refuse to deal him and it is never an issue.
Putting a clock on all of this is the Pierce exception, which expires very shortly after the open of business this summer. Ainge cannot afford to wait and see if the Twolves soften their Love stance as the summer marches along.
So... It is the day before the Pierce exception expires this summer, all indications are that the Twolves are still not even willing to talk about moving Love. What do you do?