Rumors about the Boston Celtics' summer plans include good news and bad news.
Boston is connected to two big-name big men, Kevin Love and Joel Embiid. Either would fill enormous needs for the Celtics. Love would be the star that they need, and Embiid would be the center that they need. Acquiring both isn't an option, but landing either one would be cause for celebration.
The latest buzz, though, suggests that no Boston tea parties will be thrown for Love in the near future. On Wednesday, ESPN's Bill Simmons would've begged to differ.
If TWolves trade Love, Celts are heavy favs to get him now. GS won't discuss Klay T. + Bulls are focused on Melo. Boston trumps anyone else.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 18, 2014
But on Thursday, ESPN's Marc Stein knocked the wind out of Simmons with a report that the Golden State Warriors will indeed include Klay Thompson in trade talks. This came after the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported that the Warriors and Denver Nuggets have made more appealing offers than the Celtics.
If the Minnesota Timberwolves want to contend for the playoffs now (they've waited long enough), an offer including Klay Thompson and David Lee will sound more attractive than Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, who ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription needed) said the Celtics were offering plus draft picks. This doesn't tell the whole story of their value, but for comparison's sake, Thompson and Lee combined for 14.6 more points per game this season than Sullinger and Olynyk.
Sullinger and Olynyk aren't Boston's most valuable trade bait, though. Its sixth overall pick is. But if Minnesota favors readiness for the NBA, the good news (at least for them) is that the Celtics may now be able to draft the best prospect in the class.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported that Joel Embiid will undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot on Friday. According to Ford (subscription needed), that's enough to scare the Cleveland Cavaliers away from selecting him first overall. In fact, one NBA general manager told Sporting News' Sean Deveney that "You can't use a Top 5 pick" on Embiid.
Boston sits at sixth overall. And CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely not only reported that Boston isn't afraid of drafting Embiid, but it's even willing to trade up for him. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix had previously reported the Celtics were “locked in” to draft Aaron Gordon, but this was before they knew Embiid wearing green wasn't a pipe dream.
Who's most likely to be a Celtic in 2014?
Boston needs a center badly. It has just two players on its roster over 6'9": Olynyk and Vitor Faverani, neither of whom are starting-caliber players. This is one reason why only six teams in the league had fewer blocks during the regular season. It also forced Sullinger and Kris Humphries, who'll be a free agent this summer, to play out of position at the 5 when they're natural 4s.
It's no wonder why the Celtics promised Sullinger that they'd bring in a center this offseason so he could return to power forward, according to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg.
Landing Love would be a dream come true and instantly make Boston a playoff contender again. But Embiid has great potential—one general manager told Forbes' Mark Heisler, "[Embiid's] ceiling is Hakeem Olajuwon. His basement is Serge Ibaka." If Embiid stays healthy and lives up to the hype, he will also make the Celtics a playoff contender again.
It'll just take more time.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.