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Zgoda: Are Celtics really the Kevin Love favorites? Denver in pursuit

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • June 18, 2014 - 11:48 PM

There's just eight days left until draft night and if you think the speculation is heating up now, just wait.

The Boston Celtics are frontrunners to acquire Kevin Love.

Or no, they're not.

Both opinions have swept the Internet yet today already.

ESPN's Chad Ford and Bill Simmons each maintained the Celtics are the favorites to get Love.

Ford said a good source in Minnesota told him the Celtics have made the best offer for Love and Simmons tweeted this morning that the Cetlics are the "heavy favs" because Golden State won't offer Klay Thompson and Chicago is focused on getting Carmelo Anthony, not Love.

Each man got Celtics fans all fired up on Twitter and chat pages before the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett tempered the enthusiasm, citing sources that say the Celtics' offer of the draft picks Nos. 6 and 17 as well as Jared Sullinger and/or Kelly Olynyk and future first-round pick(s)isn't nearly the best the Wolves have received or expert to receive.

I'll go with my guy Bulpett on this one.

You can read his report here. In it, Bulpett says a source told him Flip Saunders believes he can get as good a prospect later in the draft -- the Wolves have the 13th overall pick and will be offered higher picks in trade discussions -- as can be had with that No. 6 overall pick.

The Herald report said Golden State and Denver each have made more "intriguing" offers already. You also can expect the haggling won't get really serious until next week as the Thursday night draft approaches..

The Denver mention is new, so apparently add them to a listen that includes Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, Sacramento, Houston and probably many others.

The Warriors, of course, have Klay Thompson to offer, but the big question is whether they're willing to include Thompson as well as another piece (Harrison Barnes perhaps?) and if the Wolves are willing to take back David Lee's big contract when crunch time comes.

If a Wolves source told Ford the Celtics are the frontrunner, he probably was lied to, if you believe such things happen at this time of year.

I don't believe the Celtics are the frontrunners because I think Saunders would much rather have young established players with a known NBA record rather than trade away his All Star for the hope of multiple draft picks, unless one of those is a top-three pick.

What would the Nuggets have to offer? The Boston Herald reported power forward Kenneth Faried, forward Wilson Chandler and could acquire Orlando's Arron Afflalo for them in a deal that would not include the Nuggets' No. 11 overall pick.

The question with the Nuggets is would Love re-sign there long term. Sacramento apparently is willing to deal without an assurance that Love will stay there long term. Maybe the Nuggets are willing, too.

I still make the Warriors the favorites in this derby, but don't sleep on Cleveland if the Cavs indeed offer up the No..1 overall pick.

And don't discount the chance that Flip will hold onto Love until later in the summer or until next February's trade deadline, no matter how awkward that could make next season if Love pouts because he doesn't want to be here.

I believe Flip is sincere when he says he won't trade Love just to trade him.

One other tidbit before I go:

Former Sacramento and Golden State coach Eric Musselman on Tuesday accepted an assistant's job with LSU after he had some discussions with Saunders about an assistant's job here.

With Sam Mitchell, Sidney Lowe and Ryan Saunders set for jobs here, that might leave just one spot left. David Adelman has one year left on his contract and will be part of the picture somehow, whether it's as a full bench assistant or not I'm not yet sure. It wouldn't surprise me to see Chauncey Billups added along the way if he decides to retire and doesn't pursue a front-office job.

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