Should Celtics Consider Making Run At Kevin Love On Buyout Market?

Love reportedly is finalizing a buyout with the Cavaliers


Feb 16, 2023

Kevin Love, the well-documented white whale of the Boston Celtics, seemingly is headed back into the open water where he can join an interested suitor for a postseason swim.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are finalizing a contract buyout with Love, as reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania early Thursday morning. The 34-year-old Love has spent the last nine seasons in Cleveland but recently was removed from the Cavaliers’ rotation and has not played in the last 12 games.

The willingness to move on from Love for nothing, especially given that the Cavaliers are firmly entrenched in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, is interesting. Sure, he’s well beyond his prime when he recorded double-doubles on a nightly basis, but the veteran NBA champion still is averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 20 minutes per game while shooting 35.4 percent from 3-point range.

Charania reported the Miami Heat are expected to be a suitor for Love while his connection to LeBron James has made some believe the Los Angeles Lakers could be in the mix, as well.

But what about the Boston Celtics?

The defending Eastern Conference champions currently have the best record in the league at the All-Star break and clearly have sights on getting back to the NBA Finals. And they’ve long been linked to Love, though that was back when he was both 25 and 31 years old.

Of course, there is the obvious point that the Celtics already have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. Their backcourt is so deep that recent Eastern Conference Player of the Week Derrick White doesn’t even start when the Celtics are fully healthy. Payton Pritchard, who played impactful playoff minutes last season, was hoping for a trade because he’s behind veterans like Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon. Boston also added frontcourt depth with last week’s trade for Mike Muscala, who already has brought length and shooting behind big men Robert Williams and Al Horford. Muscala, who’s three years younger, is expected to serve a similar role to what Love would.

With that said, the addition of Love admittedly would be more of a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency situation. The Celtics hopefully wouldn’t have to play Love in meaningful minutes this spring. But the potential to fill that final spot with a veteran who’s won a championship nevertheless is enticing. Perhaps the better question, though, is would Love want to come to Boston given the team’s depth?

The Celtics do enter the buyout market with an advantage over others as Boston has a $3.2 million disabled player exception earned after Danilo Gallinari’s injury. It could be used to outbid opponents for buyout candidates, and specifically used to outbid those going after Love. While it doesn’t sound like Love will be available for long, players must be waived by March 1 in order to be playoff-eligible with a new team.

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
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