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Thursday, 22 May 2014 20:39

LaMarcus Aldridge Should Be Priority Target For Boston Celtics, Not Kevin Love

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Photo via Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images Photo via Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

Call me crazy, but the Boston Celtics should not be targeting Kevin Love, they should be focusing in on the availability of LaMarcus Alrdidge. 

 

There are talks out there on the NBA rumor world regarding Kevin Love joining the Boston Celtics, and while I'm not against it, I still feel as though Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge should consider LaMarcus Alrdidge come June. 

If the Celtics were to make a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who would be in the deal? The No. 6 pick in this year's draft? Yes. One or two future first-round selections? Yes, Jared Sullinger? Yes. And possibly Jeff Green and/or Brandon Bass? Yes. 

But what does that all equal? Too much.

If I'm Ainge, the only way I trade a package of that caliber is for an all-around, perrennial All-Star that can change a team on both ends of the floor, not just one. And that isn't what Love is. Yes, he is a three-time NBA All-Star and has come close to MVP honors, but he's just another guy. 

Love, unlike LeBron James, has not led his subpar Western Conference team to the NBA playoffs throughout his six-year career, which raises an essential concern. That's not to say he can't, but is he that "franchise-changing player" who can lead a team into the playoffs and win a title? It remains to be a mystery. 

A strength, but a knack on Love, is his passion for shooting the three-ball. In a fantasy world, Love would be like Dirk Nowitzki, but let's be honest, he doesn't have the length or quickness to be a swingman power forward. He belongs in the paint. And when in the post, he dominates. 

Taking a walk into the mind of Ainge, Aldridge would be a name to target. He brings that "it" factor on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. It will be extremely tough to lure him away from the Portland Trail Blazers due his loyalty for the team and the impressive playoff success they endured in the 2013-14 campaign. 

But there are multiple reasons a guy of Aldridge's caliber is worth the package that has been swirled around. The three-time All-Star averaged 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.0 block per game this past season. His career? 18.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.0 block per game. He is comparably built to Kevin Garnett, and is a player who can bring back the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop scheme to Boston alongside Rajon Rondo (if Rondo stays). 

A reason for Aldridge leaving is in the same boat as Love. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in the 2015 summer. Yes, his contract still has $15.3 million left on the books in the 2014-15 season. But what he has showcased recently is worthy and right within that ballpark. The price to extend him should be the max offer of 5-year, $100 million.  

The talk around the NBA shouldn't involve just Love, it should mainly consist of Aldridge. He's exactly what the Celtics should want: an experienced 28-year-old power forward who will bring a presence in the painted area every game. 

You could make the case that the only reason why Sullinger is added to the mix in the rumored package is due to the parallel skillset as Love. But if Ainge is an intelligent general manager, which he is, he would acknowledge that trading Sullinger for Love doesn't really improve the team as a whole. 

If Love is available, a package as you read above is not at the right price. Boston should look to give the No. 6 pick, a future first-rounder (not two), Jeff Green and Brandon Bass -- nothing else. The future considerations should not be added to the mix unless you are talking about Aldridge. The deal for Aldridge would consist of anyone aside from Rondo and Sullinger, and I would throw in another first-round pick to compensate for Sullinger's absence.

June will be filled with "fireworks." But at the moment, is Love the firestarter? I don't know. It would be wise for Ainge to build a team around a proven power forward in Aldridge, Sullinger, the No.17 pick, free-agent signees, including a rim protector and Rondo.

Mark Loiselle Jr.

Mark Loiselle Jr. is a Celtics beat writer for CLNS Radio. He currently has a radio show called "The Sports Blast" on ESPN Radio in Nashua, New Hampshire, and writes for The Phinsider. In the past, his work has been published on NESN.com, Phinphanatic.com and Atlantic Twine. 

Mark is a Warwick, Rhode Island native who recently graduated from Springfield College with a degree in communications/sports journalism. You can follow Mark on Twitter @mahkeyL34