Happy trade day... oh wait, happy draft day (or maybe it is both) everyone!
We have not heard anything new on the Kevin Love front. There are guesses and opinions out there that the Golden State deal will get done if/when the Warriors agree to include Klay Thompson, but we'll see. You never know when a last minute deal could be pulled off. Or perhaps they'll punt on draft night and wait till after Carmelo and LeBron land somewhere and hope that the team that misses out on them turns their attention on Love. So far, the Celtics have only really been mentioned as a dark horse in that race, but again, things can change quickly on draft night.
By now you've seen that Asik was traded to New Orleans. So where can the Celtics get a rim protector? Perhaps Embiid.
But on the eve of the draft, several league sources said that Embiid could fall to the Celtics at the sixth pick — and that the Celtics are expected to grab him if he’s there. Though Embiid would miss summer league, training camp, and potentially part — if not all — of the 2014-15 season, he would give the Celtics a future "rim protector" that Ainge said the team needed when last season ended.
I think that's who I'm rooting for at this point (with the assumption that the C's medical team gives the thumbs up). If not him, there's a group of 4 names that keep coming up.
Otherwise, the C’s have shown strong interest in Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, Kentucky forward Julius Randle, Indiana forward Noah Vonleh and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon. Of that group, only Smart has been in for a second workout with the Celtics, having gone through another session last Friday. Randle turned down a second invite, saying yesterday he’d already made his point.
How many of those guys are really high on Ainge's big board is anyone's guess. All are projected in the Celtics range and if someone the Celtics don't like gets picked ahead of them, then more of the guys they like will drop. So I wouldn't be surprised if the Boston brass is talking up one or two of these guys around the league hoping to convince another GM that they'd better pick him up soon. Like I said, believe nothing you hear at this time of year - at least not at face value.
And the elephant in the room is how all of this will impact Rajon Rondo. Is he going to get the bigtime help that he wants (and needs)? Or is he going to be shipped off for more picks and building blocks.
There's a belief that, if the Celtics can't land Love now, the team ought to trade Rondo. It's fair logic. If the Celtics envision another lean rebuilding year with a focus on developing younger players, then that might further entice Rondo to examine other potential suitors when he's on the open market next summer. The Celtics run the risk of losing him for no compensation -- though options exist to prevent that -- so the team must at least think a little longer about any proposals that land on Ainge's desk between now and February's trade deadline. If the past is any indication, there will be plenty of calls. Rondo is simply going to have to deal with the persistent rumors until Boston's path is a bit more defined.
The Kings rumor keeps coming up but this seems to me like a situation where Ainge would be quiet as a mouse and then BOOM, all of a sudden Rondo is gone to a team we haven't even thought of yet.
Or on the flipside, especially given historical trends that Chris Forsberg mentions above, the draft could come and go and Rajon Rondo could still be a Celtic, regardless of what else happens. Ainge isn't going to be forced into doing anything that he doesn't feel reflects good value. It isn't going to be a situation where Love gets traded and Ainge sighs and picks up the phone and accepts the first 50 cents on the dollar deal he can find. He'll always look for the best value and he isn't afraid to walk away without a deal.
So here we are on draft day and as usual we have no idea what's going to happen. Personally I think it could prove to be a pretty big night for the future of the franchise. Stay tuned and keep coming back here to CelticsBlog for rumors, analysis, and discussion with other passionate Celtics fans like you. Cheers.