Though Kawhi Leonard is already playing in the Western Conference, the Boston Celtics‘ road to the 2020 NBA Finals isn’t expected to be easy, especially with the emergence of numerous powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference. Boston may already be performing impressively this season, but most people believe that they should strongly consider upgrading their roster in order to have a better chance of representing the Eastern Conference in the Finals and winning a title. One of the potential targets for the Celtics before the February trade deadline is Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report gave a list of trade deadline targets who could swing the outcome of this year’s playoffs. For the Celtics, he believes that trading for Love would immediately address their lack of size and give them someone who could match up against Joel Embiid and Al Horford of the Sixers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez of the Bucks, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis of the Pacers, and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors.
However, though the team has a plethora of interesting assets — including young players and future draft picks — that can convince Cleveland to make a deal, they may still have to part ways with at least one core player to acquire Love. To match his $28.9 million salary for the 2019-20 season, Swartz suggested that Boston should include Gordon Hayward in any trade package for the Cavaliers big man.
“A trade for Love’s $28.9 million salary would likely mean moving Gordon Hayward, either directly to Cleveland or elsewhere in a three-team trade. While losing Hayward would hurt, the Celtics might need to send him to the bench come playoff time anyway with so many talented opposing big men to guard. A starting unit of Walker, Brown, Tatum, Love and Theis would pack plenty of shooting, playmaking, rebounding and now size, which is perhaps Boston’s issue heading into the postseason.”
Trading Hayward is undeniably a tough decision for the Celtics, especially now that he’s playing much better compared to his first two years in Boston. However, it is something that Boston should consider if they believe that Love is the missing piece of their championship team. He may have expressed his desire to finish the season as a Cavalier but at this point in his pro career, most people would definitely want to see him play for a team that has a legitimate chance of contending for a championship.