We all know that if the Timberwolves want to trade Kevin Love for future potential, then the Celtics have the upper hand in any trade, but much has been made of Flip Saunders wanting to trade Kevin Love for players who can help the team win now. (Hence the trade rumors with Golden State) This may all be Saunders leaking misinformation to try and up the price for Love, but here’s some info to argue why the Celtics would still have the best deal if the Wolves want to win now.
Power Forward Replacement
David Lee – Age 31 – Contract 2 years 30.5 million • P/40 – 22.0 • R/40 – 11.2 • PER – 19.21
Jared Sullinger – Age 22 – Contract 3 years 6.96 million • P/40 – 19.2 • R/40 – 11.8 • PER – 16.42
These two players are not that far from each other in production, and they should produce similarly next season. However, Lee is almost ten years older than Sullinger and much more expensive. Factor in the potential of Sullinger improving his game, and I cannot image any GM preferring David Lee over Jared Sullinger. Edge Boston.
Klay Thompson – Age 24 – Contract 3 years 9.6 million • P/40 – 20.8 • A/40 – 2.5 • 3P% – .417 • PER – 14.32
Jeff Green – Age 27 – Contract 2 years 18.4 million • P/40 – 19.7 • A/40 – 2.0 • 3P% – .340 • PER – 13.17
Thompson does get the edge in youth, three point accuracy and the fact that he plays shooting guard, which is not a deep position in the NBA. However, because of being one of the better shooting guards in the NBA, Thompson will be very expensive to retain when his qualifying offer comes around. It could be argued that Green is a better long-term solution due to cost, and as far as production is concerned, the two players are not that far off from each other. However, the edge goes to Golden State.
Young Player with Potential
Harrison Barnes – Age 22 – Contract 3 years 12 million • P/40 – 13.4 • R/40 – 5.6 • PER – 9.85
Kelly Olynyk – Age 23 – Contract 4 years 11.6 million • P/40 – 17.3 • R/40 – 10.4 • PER – 15.27
In his first year in the league, Olynyk is out-producing Barnes. One could argue that this trend will not continue, but the numbers suggest Olynyk is better now. Olynyk also has size to offer, as well as a great passing ability. I’d have to give the edge to Boston.
Boston has the #6 and #17 picks in the 2014 Draft. Golden State has…umm, literally no 2014 picks. Massive edge Boston.
Let’s be honest, future assets aren’t moving the needle in this trade. Any future first-round picks traded would be late round, and even if Flip is concerned with this, the Celtics have the upper hand. Edge Boston.
So, in my opinion, it seems obvious that the Celtics can whip Golden State in a win now offer as well as a future potential offer. Unless Flip Saunders has been convinced that Klay Thompson is the next Michael Jordan, he’d be foolish to sign off on the rumored deal with Golden State.
The only wild-card in this situation is if Danny is not willing to trade the players or assets that I’ve listed in exchange for Kevin Love. If he is, then I still see the Celtics as the favorite to land Kevin Love. Only time will tell.