There are several rumors out there that seems to have legs that have Celtics sending Ratliff, Al and parts to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. Just about every variation of the trade rumors have us giving up both the 5th pick and Al Jefferson. And in turn we take back Garnett's huge contract. Today's Herald tells us that it is closer to happening and indeed, Danny would be giving up both the 5th pick and Big Al to get Garnett. "Insiders" on both Celtics and Wolves message boards say it is as good as done. But I am still hoping that it doesn't go down as reported.
First, Kevin Garnett is a great player, but he is on the down side of his career. We have seen this too many times. Celtics trade a young player for immediate help. In 1998, The Celtics traded Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas for Kenny Anderson, Zan Tabak and Popeye Jones. Chauncey Billups is winning championships in Detroit and Anderson, Tabak, and Jones are long gone. In 2002, Joe Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns along with guards Randy Brown, Milt Palacio and a first round pick for veteran forward Rodney Rogers and guard Tony Delk. Joe Johnson is an All Star while Rogers and Delk are gone from the league.
Al Jefferson is just starting to scratch the surface of his talent. He has offensive moves that remind me of Kevin McHale. He is going to be a force in this league for 10 years or more. There are several reasons that I don't like this trade.
1. If we trade for Garnett, we will have him for two years at the most until his current contract is up and then he will walk, if he doesn't opt out of his contract after this year. I don't think we will win a championship in that 2 year window. However, if we keep Al and the 5th pick, we will be good enough to win a championship as all our young players break out.
2.There is also a chance with a player Garnett's age that he may begin to be slowed by injuries. Say Garnett comes in and gets injured. We are done. We are giving up way too much for one player.
3. His max contract will stretch our payroll to the max so that we won't be able to sign our other young players coming up for extensions. We give up our future for a couple of years and then we are back to square one again. It just isn't worth it.
4. Doc doesn't have a clue how to use bigs. Can you imagine KG inbounding the ball to the PG and then running up and stopping at the top of the arc and waiting for the ball to be passed back and forth a couple of times before moving toward the basket? I can see KG being very, very unhappy in Boston.
5. The trade gives Minnesota one of the best young power forwards in the league plus gives them the 5th and 7th picks in a very deep draft. It also gives them a ton of cap room. Meanwhile it straps the Celtics financially and gives us an aging super star who can walk after the season if he wants.
There have also been rumors of Boston being involved in a 3 way trade with Boston getting Shawn Marion, Phoenix getting Garnett and Minny getting several players and the 5th pick from Boston. Again, I don't want to give up Al Jefferson. His upside is just too high to trade him away. It will come back to haunt us if we do. We have stuck with our young players this long, and now that they are ready to break out and take their games to the next level, it is not the time to get rid of them.
And it isn't just that we would be giving up Big Al, we would be giving up the 5th pick as well. I believe that several of the players that we could pick with the 5th pick are going to go on to become stars. Just as passing on Brandon Roy for Telfair haunted us last season, and may haunt us for seasons to come, I believe passing on the player we could take at 5 will come back to haunt us also.
They'd be sacrificing every non-Pierce trading asset for superior defense at the 4-spot and a slight points/rebounding upgrade. They'd also be losing the league's best young low-post scorer (Jefferson) for a mercurial clubhouse guy who peaked three years ago and hasn't made the playoffs since. Seriously, would you rather pay Jefferson $4 million combined for the next two seasons, take Corey Brewer fifth (someone who could guard LeBron, Wade, Arenas and Kobe for the next 10 years), use Ratliff's contract to pursue one more veteran (someone like Andrei Kirilenko, for instance) and build a real basketball team? Or would you rather pay Kevin Garnett $46 million over the next two seasons, flank him with Pierce and nobody else, then hope both guys somehow stay healthy for the next three years?
I like Brewer as a pick and he gives us the defensive stopper that we really need. Al Jefferson is going to give us every bit as much as KG could in another year as Al continues to get better and KG begins to slow down. There are other players out there to pursue. As Bill said, AK47 is one, Rashard Lewis is another. I just don't want to trade away our future and be left with nothing in return. The asking price for Garnett is way too much.
Now we get to the weird stuff. Danny Ainge admitted he was talking to Minnesota about a Garnett trade. There are rumors all over with team sources discussing offers made with the Wolves for Garnett. But yet, on Yahoo Sports, McHale has this to say:
As far as Minnesota Timberwolves basketball boss Kevin McHale is concerned, any trade talk involving Kevin Garnett so far has been just that -- talk. "Who knows what's going to happen?" McHale said Wednesday after the Wolves worked out college stars Jeff Green and Al Horford in preparation for next week's draft. "But we're not out there actively shopping Kevin Garnett around the NBA. I can tell you that much." McHale was pressed on the topic a day after Danny Ainge told The Boston Herald that he has talked to McHale about Garnett. But McHale dismissed that news as the typical chatter that happens between team executives in the days leading up to the NBA draft. "At this time of year, all the teams are talking to each other," McHale said. "Everybody phones each other saying, 'Hey what are you looking at? What are you doing?'
So, even though there are reports out there with specific offers and the Herald says a trade is closer to happening, McHale isn't shopping Garnett. I think he is actively shopping Garnett. Although this could be a lot of smoke and mirrors to get the value of the 5th pick higher. I just hope Danny isn't buying because if the rumors are true, the price is way too high.