Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge no longer has a “borderline obsession” with acquiring Kevin Love even as Ainge remains interested, sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The Celtics will be more careful than they were last year about offering picks and players in trade proposals for Love, should he opt in, and about offering Love a lucrative long-term deal, Bulpett hears.
Love has a degree of interest in Boston, a source tells Bulpett, advancing an earlier report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that suggested the C’s had made gains on the Lakers as Love’s favored non-Cavs destination. Still, the power forward has repeatedly insisted that he plans to remain in Cleveland. A league executive who isn’t Ainge spoke to Bulpett and predicted that Love will stick with the Cavs, and the exec believes that the 26-year-old is concerned about his health and wants to sign a long-term deal. Love told Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group in January that he planned to pick up his player option worth more than $16.744MM for next season.
Bulpett cites knee issues for Love, though the forward is out for the playoffs because of a shoulder injury. In any case, a Celtics roster that no longer includes a star is helping tamp down Ainge’s enthusiasm to pursue Love, whom Ainge eyed last year as a complement to Rajon Rondo, who was then still considered a marquee player, as Bulpett explains. Still, significant changes to the roster are a near certainty for Boston, so there’s a decent chance that Ainge becomes re-energized about going after Love, Bulpett cautions.