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Should the Celtics trade for Kevin Love?

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Think of all the pun headlines. What's Love got to do with it? Looking for Love in all the wrong places. And so on.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There aren't any trade rumors to discuss at the moment but I thought I'd fill in some of the space before the deadline with a series dedicated to trade speculation.  I'm starting with the topic du jour, Kevin Love.

Is he available?

Let's start with his availability.  Are the Cavs really considering trading Kevin at this point?  If you had asked me a week ago (and several people did) I'd say "no chance."  I thought that maybe if things didn't work out in this year's playoffs they'd maybe think about making a move then, but it didn't make sense to me to make a drastic move mid-season.

Well, a drastic move has already been made and Coach Blatt is no longer the coach.  So we kind of have to re-open this topic for debate.  Is Love available?  Not according to his GM.

Cleveland Cavaliers not looking to trade Kevin Love, GM says

"You'd have to go a long way to convince me that we're a better team winning in the Finals without a player like Kevin on our team," Griffin said in an interview on ESPN 850 AM in Cleveland. "We've never once put together an offer involving Kevin nor have we taken a call on an offer for Kevin."

Of course, what else is the GM going to say about a player he's still counting on to win games for him?  These kinds of comments were commonly coming out of Danny's mouth regarding Rajon Rondo not too long ago.

According to reports, Blatt told friends in Israel that he thought that either he or Love would likely go before too long.  When players were called together to be told about Blatt's firing, some of them apparently assumed that they were going to be told that Kevin Love was traded.

The Cavs window with LeBron is getting short (something we were all too familiar with during the KG/Pierce/Allen era).  So they can't afford to wait too long and if the Warriors and Spurs are that much better than the Cavs, then Cleveland might seek out a better fit than what Kevin Love provides.

This isn't to say that Love is a bad player all of a sudden.  But he requires a higher usage rate than what he gets when sharing the court with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in order to be effective.

What's the cost?

There's the rub.  The Cavs probably aren't interested in draft picks as a primary source of compensation for Love. They need good, solid players that fit next to LeBron and Kyrie.  On a recent podcast, Zach Lowe shared his opinion that Jae Crowder would "have to" be part of any package going to the Cavs for Love.  If that's the case, regardless of what else is in the deal, I'd be tempted to say "thanks but no thanks" and call it a day (more on that below).  And I do like a lot of what Kevin Love could bring this team.

With that said, I'd be more inclined to talk the Cavs into accepting Avery Bradley and a few other pieces (Sully or Olynyk?) in the deal. In fact, it might end up being too difficult to pull of with a straight two team deal.  A third team could potentially get involved, receiving a pick and David Lee from the Celtics in exchange for a more established player that would help LeBron and company win now.

Is Love the right fit?

I suppose this could have been the first or second question.  But in this case I think the fit depends on the price and none of this matters if he's not actually available.

The Celtics need a scorer and Love has shown that he can score consistently when he's been a featured part of the offense.  He also rebounds well and is a phenomenal outlet passer.  The Celtics get a lot of points off of transition and having a guy like Love starting the break could indirectly add points to the Celtics attack.

The problem is that Love is a turnstile on defense, which happens to be the Celtics bread and butter right now.  I'd gladly give up a little bit of defense to add a lot more offense.  But it is questionable how much the pluses would outweigh the negatives in Love's case.  If you take away Crowder from the mix, all of a sudden there's a drastic drop in defense and not as much upside on the offensive side.  At least if you deal Bradley you have a succession plan with Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas able to man the two guard spots.

Conclusion

As usual, it comes down to "what's the price?"  You have to give up assets to get a star-potential player, but there's always a limit.  If we have to give up Crowder and multiple picks, I'm probably out.  If it is less than that, we can talk.