The Boston Celtics have been in a distant pursuit of of the Minnesota Timberwolves' star power forward all summer long. However, they are still several car lengths behind the race leaders and just don't seem to have the horsepower to catch up naturally.
There is no competing with an offer that includes 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Likewise, even an offer of Klay Thompson, if that Golden State Warriors ship hasn't sailed, would be difficult for Boston to supersede.
Potential the likes of Wiggins' doesn't really exist elsewhere in the league, and certainly not in the Celtics camp. Nor does established talent at the level of Thompson. Barring a Rajon Rondo inclusion, which makes little sense, Boston seems to have another year to go before they can engage in real talks with more than Flip Saunders' voice mail.
After a pretty dreadful season of losing, this quick fix is all that Celtics fans can think about. They think all Boston needs to become a contender again is Love.
It must certainly be nice to be a man of Danny Ainge's tenure. The Celtics' president of basketball operations is currently the fourth-longest tenured general manager in the NBA. Outside of Pat Riley, R.C. Buford and Mitch Kupchak, nobody has held this position of power with a specific team longer than Ainge.
In a league and era of constant front office and coaching personnel shifting, this is a very impressive feat. It comes with its perks as well. Ainge isn't pressured to make moves that he thinks may save his job. His employment is very secure in the eyes of Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and their ownership partners.
This has afforded Ainge the ability to remain patient in matters of Love. He went through a two-year playoff gap and rebuild a handful of years ago and had far less front-office credibility at that time. He would be silly not to try to shorten that period to one year this time around, with the full confidence that two years isn't the end of the world.
Also, that one year isn't necessarily up yet. That egg timer doesn't expire for quite a while, actually.
"'Fireworks' means that Danny is fearless in trying to get something done,” Pagliuca told The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy. “Wyc meant that there would be a lot of activity, and there’s still a lot of time to go. A lot of teams assess what they have and what they need after going through training camp."
Dwight Howard's blockbuster that sent the flip-flopping superstar to the Los Angeles Lakers occurred on Aug. 10, 2012. On Oct. 27, 2012, James Harden was dealt by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. As backwards as the lockout season was, Chris Paul was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers in mid-December, before the season began on Dec. 25, 2011. Just last year, Marcin Gortat was acquired by the Washington Wizards on Oct. 25.
Just because a NBA feeding frenzy and media explosion followed LeBron James' announcement doesn't mean that the offseason is over, or even coming to a close. There are 84 days before the 2014-15 season begins on Oct. 28, 2014. There are even more until the league's trade deadline in February.
Yes, everyone is impatient in the modern Twitter era, but Ainge had been involved with professional basketball since long before any of that. Of course he wants Love sooner rather than later, but Ainge is patient and has contingencies in place. Getting Love is going to take more time.
Ainge may be an outsider looking in on the Love game right now, but if he holds steady and gets some help in places, he is too smart and experienced to miss out when opportunity presents itself.
If Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk play three months while averaging somewhere around 15 points and 10 rebounds, they suddenly become much more attractive pieces to a Timberwolves organization that is still staring at losing Love for nothing in the offseason.
There is also the chance that Marcus Smart finishes his first half-season of NBA action high in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. These are sizable ifs, but also mammoth reasons for Ainge to be patient.
The 30-day crunch has begun, as Andrew Wiggins inked his first NBA contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. For 30 days, he cannot be traded. However, once that period is up, he is fair game for the Cavs brass to deal.
Certainly, that puts added pressure on other league GMs who don't want to see Love wind up with James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but there is little Ainge can do. Short of going Dan Aykroyd in Celtic Pride, Ainge must remain patient and hold his ground.
While his gift basket is bigger and more diverse than any others being wafted in the direction of Minneapolis, it isn't the flashiest or tastiest. If he waits until those prizes are taken off the table, he just has to keep his nicely chilled and available.
If it happens, it is going to happen fast, and likely with little warning.
"It's like being in a Lamborghini doing 200 [mph] with your head stuck out the window," Kevin Garnett told reporters like The Boston Globe's Gary Dzen during his introductory press conference in Boston. "It's been like a whirlwind."
With so much offseason remaining, it isn't yet time to give up on a quick fix for Celtics fans. However, the chances are still slim, so fans should take a page from Ainge's book. Don't give up on being the last one at the trading table, but put contingencies in place.
Enjoy watching youngsters like Smart, James Young and Tyler Zeller develop instead of counting the days until Gerald Wallace's contract expires. Enjoy what is hopefully a real life, full season of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley as backcourt mates. Even if you are just excited to hear Evan Turner speak often, realize that this year will be different than 2013-14.
Let there continue to be hope that Love will find you, but don't let that consume you. That is what Abigail Van Buren would tell Celtics fans.
Michael Bolton might tell them something similar.
We should, you know, hang out some time...
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