A pair of Eastern Conference contenders reportedly made a run at Kevin Love after he finalized a contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it didn’t really make sense for the Boston Celtics to do the same.
While we noted last week that the idea of Love being added to the end of Boston’s bench was intriguing, the fact of the matter is the 34-year-old was never going to agree to it regardless of the Green’s title aspirations. And given their own frontcourt depth, the C’s likely would rather add another wing as opposed to a veteran big man. It should come as no surprise Love reportedly plans to sign with the Miami Heat, with whom he can have more of an impact. The Philadelphia 76ers also had talks with Love.
While both the Heat and 76ers, much like the Celtics, are in position to make a run in the Eastern Conference, there is a noticeable difference between the three: Boston’s depth.
The Celtics arguably are the deepest team in the league. Their frontcourt is headlined by Robert Williams and Al Horford, and those two would?ve prevented meaningful playoff minutes for Love barring injuries. The two-way ability of Williams and Horford, which was on display when Boston played the two-big lineup last postseason, provides an advantage. Grant Williams’ defensive presence and an incredibly deep backcourt also would severely hinder any role for another newcomer.
A potential Love pursuit for the C?s became unlikely even before it was reported the 15th-year pro was finalizing a buyout with Cleveland, where he spent the last eight-plus seasons. When Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made a trade for then-Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mike Muscala, it provided the group with a new dimension of size and shooting off the bench. It felt like that move was Stevens’ way of addressing a need, and thus ended up making the C’s less likely to add Love on the buyout market two weeks later.
The Celtics will return from the NBA All-Star break Thursday against the Indiana Pacers in hopes of improving their league-leading 42-17 record.