NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Updates on Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo and Draft-Day Deals

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Updates on Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo and Draft-Day Deals
Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

Even though all eyes in the NBA are locked on what picks will be made on draft night, the sheer volume of trade rumors floating around means that business could pick up at any moment. 

The big name on the block is Kevin Love, who appears to have no love for Minnesota after six years of losing, but it won't be an easy move for teams to make because the Timberwolves can ask for a hefty ransom. 

Despite the attention Love commands, there are other deals being bantered about that are worth discussing. We've got the latest on the Timberwolves' situation and other hot rumors coming from the Association. 

 

Kevin Love Front-Runner Emerges

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Of all the teams currently being linked to Love, it appears that one has finally emerged from the pack if it is willing to it happen. According to Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe, Golden State has taken the lead with its potential package of players. 

With a trade package that is expected to include guard Klay Thompson and forward David Lee, the Golden State Warriors are considered the front-runners to land Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love in a deal, NBA sources told the Globe on Thursday.

Holmes' source also pointed out that "nothing is imminent," as the players involved are simply being discussed, but at least there's a blueprint for the Timberwolves to work with, and other teams now know what they are up against. 

Love is an interesting fit for the Warriors, who are on the cusp of becoming one the better teams in the Western Conference but would be cutting into their depth to add the Minnesota All-Star. 

Plus, David Lee isn't that much different than Love as a player. He's not going to reach the dizzying totals of 26 points and 12 rebounds per game, but his career marks of 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game isn't substantially worse than Love's 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds. 

Lee is more efficient shooting the ball, connecting on 53.4 percent of his attempts, compared to 45.1 for Love. The biggest difference is age, as Lee is 31 years old, and Love doesn't turn 26 until September. 

If the Warriors are prepared to go all-in this season, or feel they have what it takes to re-sign Love to a max contract without putting the rest of their roster in jeopardy, this is the kind of deal that can help both teams. 

Minnesota would be getting a quality power forward signed through 2016 and a franchise shooting guard in 24-year-old Klay Thompson, who set career highs in points per game (18.4) and three-point percentage (41.7) last season. 

 

Boston May Have Rajon Rondo Contingency Plan

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Also in the Love sweepstakes are the Boston Celtics, who may or may not have the best potential deal for Minnesota. 

According to ESPN.com's Chad Ford's latest mock draft (Insider subscription required), the Celtics may try to use their two first-round picks and young assets to land the star power forward.

But I continue to get strong signals that the Celtics are trying hard to use pick No. 6 and 17 along with future No. 1s and young players such as Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk to persuade the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade them Kevin Love. One source close to the Wolves said that while Flip Saunders does not want to trade Love, he realizes the team likely will lose him this summer and the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he's going to get.

That report was quickly followed up by one from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald refuting Ford's that Boston's proposed deal is not as good as other offers the Timberwolves have received. 

Sources close to the situation have told the Herald that Boston's offer of draft picks and players isn’t nearly the best the Timberwolves have received — or expect to receive — for their All-Star forward.

The Celtics are willing to discuss a number of options, but none of them includes the quality of player with NBA experience that Minnesota is seeking or believes it can get elsewhere.

Welcome to the world of trade rumors!

To Boston's credit, the team appears to have a backup plan to move forward with its rebuild if things with Love don't work out. According to a separate report from Bulpett, the plan involves point guard Rajon Rondo. 

If the Celtics cannot get Love, they are planning to continue with the longer and more methodical rebuilding process, a process that would likely see Rajon Rondo traded. (An NBA source said they would also have a taker for Jeff Green if they chose to move him.)

Which trade makes the most sense for the team?

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The Love scenario doesn't make sense for the Celtics, who are more than just one player away from competing for a championship. When you have two first-round picks in a class this deep, as well as an asset like Rondo, rebuilding the roster won't take that long. 

Plus, why would the Celtics want to commit the kind of money necessary to keep Love in the mix long term when they can keep their financial options open with a slew of young, talented players under contract after they make their picks?

Dealing Rondo, who can net a hefty return because of his value as a point guard and being signed for a reasonable $13 million next season, seems like Boston's best course of action. 

 

New York Knicks Want a Draft Pick

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For a franchise with as many questions as the New York Knicks, not the least of which is what happens with Carmelo Anthony, the biggest news around the team right now might be what it wants to do in the draft. 

The Knicks currently have no picks in the 2014 draft by virtue of the Anthony trade and the 2012 sign-and-trade for Marcus Camby (Denver has New York's first-round pick; Houston has its second-round pick). 

That could change if Phil Jackson and Co. have their way. According to Mark Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks want to draft former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston

The Knicks have convinced at least one faction they are extremely serious about trading for or buying a late first-round pick with the NBA Draft less than a week away.

When shooting guard P.J. Hairston agreed to work out for Knicks president Phil Jackson on June 5, it was the strongest indication they are setting their sights on more than just buying a second-rounder next Thursday night.

New York doesn't have much cap space to play with, likely waiting to make any significant move in free agency until 2015 when Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani come off the books. 

The Knicks have to do something for the future this offseason. Anthony may take the money, which would be good for him but may not be in the team's best interest, yet what are the Knicks putting around him to get better?

Hairston may not be a superstar talent, but he's just two years removed from averaging 14.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for North Carolina. Getting young, talented, cost-effective talent is what the Knicks need to be thinking about now. 

It's just going to be difficult moving back into a draft when you have no picks this year and a second-rounder next year. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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