Technically speaking NBA teams that are out of the playoffs are allowed to make trades during the playoffs (as long as the players involved are not free agents or hold player options). But practically speaking that doesn't really happen until after the Finals are over. Now the games are done (well done Spurs) and the real fun begins for the rest of the league. It is offseason time and the draft is approaching.
There are just 10 days left to the NBA Draft. The night of the draft is always busy because a lot of teams will wait until that night to make trades involving picks. Even if they've got everything worked out before draft night, they'll wait to make it official when they are sure that "their guy" is still on the board when the other team's pick is on the clock. Even then they have to wait till after the draft to make it official (thus the awkward process of draft picks wearing the hat of the team that drafted them rather than the one of the team that just traded for them).
Still, there are trades that could happen before the draft and Kevin Love is one of them. We've heard all along that the Wolves wouldn't do anything until closer to the draft and now we are entering the final stretch. So I'm actually expecting the rumors to start to hit overdrive any day now. You want fireworks? Get ready for a lot of smoke leading to a big explosion (we just don't know if it will be a green burst of light in the sky or another team's colors).
Then there's the draft itself. The Celtics currently have 2 first round picks and might very well trade into the 2nd round. Apparently they see some value there and want to capitalize on it. A few teams have several 2nd rounders and may want to take future 2nd rounders rather than load up on players that may or may not make the team this year.
Additionally, it pains me to point it out once again, but lurking in the back of the room is the possibility that Danny Ainge might finally get an offer for Rajon Rondo that he cannot turn down. If Kevin Love ends up elsewhere and someone sees the opportunity to throw picks and players at the Celtics in return for my favorite point guard, he very well could be headed elsewhere in 2 weeks time. I hope not, but it could happen.
Lastly, there are free agents to consider. The Celtics have several things to work out before the July free agency period opens up. Once it does, however, they'll need to make decisions on Avery Bradley, Kris Humphries, and Jerryd Bayless. Not to mention other team's free agents (really hard to tell how much cap money the C's would have but there are exceptions they can use plus guys that would sign for the vet minimum). Oh yeah, and sign and trades are difficult under the new rules but not entirely impossible.
Danny Ainge ended the Pierce-Garnett era with every intention of having maximum flexibility and options heading into this offseason. He might not find what he's looking for and he might have to wait till the deadline or next offseason (or even longer). Still, at the very least he has options right now. He isn't a perfect GM, nobody is (well, maybe R.C. Buford comes close). But he's proven in the past that he can build a championship and he's one of the hardest working and most creative GM's out there. So at least we've got a chance.
Who's ready for some fireworks? Or at least a daily dose of new rumors? Let's get this thing started.