Monday rolled around, though, and reports from both the Boston and Clipper camps poured cold water on the KG-to-LA talk; though to be fair to Sporting News reporter Sean Deveney he went out of his way to de-hype his initial report as much as possible. SB Nation’s Paul Flannery wrote on Monday morning that the C’s “had no interest,” and that “it would take a lot more than that to get KG out of Boston and that’s before anyone gets around to asking him if he wanted to waive his no-trade clause to make it happen.” Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler were reported to be the bounty, and while we think that the Celtics (and know that Flannery) appreciates Bledsoe’s remarkable all-around game, this is still Kevin Garnett we’re talking about.
From out of California, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweeted that there’s not a lot of talking about Kevin Garnett going on at all:
Of course, Garnett’s “no trade” clause gets in the way of everything. Garnett, frankly, isn’t welcoming in change even if the Celtics go on to lose their next 14 games. This is the guy who missed the playoffs for three straight seasons in Minnesota before even entertaining the idea of being shipped to a new locale. He’s loyal, and you can’t call it “to a fault” when you’ve been through as much as he’s been through in Boston.
On top of that, would this even work as a winner for the Clippers? Chris Paul is often injured, same with backcourt mate Chauncey Billups, and trading a mini-LeBron in Bledsoe would take away a pretty nice fallback asset. The sheer dominance that Garnett’s on/off court stats suggest would help with any team, but ask the 2004 Minnesota Timberwolves (playoffs version) how things go with a Garnett-led team without a point guard to run the show.
For Kevin Garnett to be traded between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline a significant list of important tipping points would have to turn in a deal’s favor.
For one, the Celtics’ front office would have to determine that a Rondo-less life will knock them out of the playoff bracket they’d hoped since last summer to make noise in. A team would have to offer a significant package to make up for the loss of Garnett and the fact that Rondo might not be up to his usual stuff for all of the 2013-14 season. Garnett would have to go completely against character and waive his no-trade clause – and trust me, KG doesn’t mind going down with a ship.
Finally, there is Garnett’s salary – potentially up to $24.4 million combined next season and in 2014-15. He’ll probably be worth it, but in a league desperate to cut payroll in advance of stricter luxury tax penalties, it’s worth quibbling over; even understanding the fact that only half of KG’s 2014-15 salary is guaranteed. Some team, most likely the Celtics, will have to consider paying $12 million for a player that will turn 38 five months before the 2014-15 season starts.
That doesn’t mean other deals aren’t out there, especially as the NBA reacts to its first full year in the way of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
FOX’s Sam Amico reports that the Houston Rockets could be after Indiana’s Danny Granger, if Granger’s worrying knees ever return to full health. He’s been out since the preseason, and though his rehabilitation is nearly done, it will take a while to work his way into the rotation. The Pacers have discussed bringing him off the bench as he works that left knee into shape, which is why we wonder about reports like this. The Pacers would be paying a lot for Granger’s bench help, should Paul George and Lance Stephenson continue to start, but you also have to consider the team’s 27th-ranked offense. Granger’s touch, however diminished, will be needed as Indiana attempts to win the Central over the Chicago Bulls.