Last night I posted the rumors, which seem to have legs and this thing may really happen. Today the regular media have picked it up but it is still at the rumor stage, but the rumors are saying it is a done deal. I have been listening to WEEI and they have said that it is a done deal with Ratliff, Green, Al, and Telfair being traded for Garnett. They reported that the deal would have been done a week ago if Danny had agreed to include Rondo instead of Telfair, but he held out and the deal is going ahead without Rondo. They also said that the Celtics are working on an extension for Garnett because they wouldn't do the deal without being assured that he was going to stay. Although Jeff Goodman said that he just talked to KG's agent who appeared fairly oblivious as to what was going on.
Fox Sports is reporting that the trade will be Al, Ratliff and Rondo for Garnett. I don't like this one little bit. It is bad enough to give up Al but to give up Rondo too, that is too much. They report that the deal is basically done.
The deal would give Ainge a team that could compete with anyone in the Eastern Conference with the trio of Paul Pierce, Garnett and Allen. The Celtics would also have nearly $60 million in salaries between the three players for next season alone. The Wolves would get one of the league's top young players in the 22-year-old Jefferson, who averaged 16 points and 11 boards in 69 games a year ago, and a second-year point guard in Rondo with plenty of potential. They would also get Ratliff's $11.7 million salary, which will come off the books after this season.
Multiple sources close to the situation told DraftExpress Sunday that the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves have come to terms on a trade exchanging Kevin Garnett for a package including Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, and Theo Ratliff. The exact details of the trade aren’t known at this point, but it is believed that the deal will be completed shortly with similar parameters.
This is a little more palatable but not much. We give up two players who have a very high ceiling and will be playing at that level for long after KG is out of the league.
It is believed that the latest incarnation of the deal would have Boston adding Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair and multiple future draft picks to Jefferson and Ratliff in exchange for Garnett. It's also likely that other players would have to be added to the deal, since the salary-cap math involved would require both teams to account for Garnett's $6.75 million trade kicker.
This is a lot to give up for a 31 year old player who has been in the league 12 years already. The main question in all of this is does Garnett want to go to Boston now and will he sign an extension to stay there? I don't want to give up our future for a one or 2 year rental.
Personally I don't like this trade. Al Jefferson is only 22 years old. He was hampered by injuries his first two seasons and last year, when he was finally healthy, he had a break out year. He averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds last season, in spite of facing double and triple teams for much of the season when Pierce was out. He has worked hard all summer and should come back even better. He and Perk have developed great chemistry. Kevin Garnett is 31 years old and has put in 12 hard years in the NBA. He is definitely one of the top players in the league but for how long? Al has 9 years to play before even getting to Garnett's age. I just don't want to watch Al Jefferson tearing up the league for years after KG is retired or goes to another team while the Celtics are back to square one and rebuilding again. Al Jefferson has been the epitome of Celtics Pride. He loves the Celtics and wanted to stay here for life. On the other hand, we bring in a player who openly voiced his opposition to coming to Boston. Do we really want a player here who doesn't like Boston and doesn't want to be here?
In fairness, I want to post reasons on both sides of the issue. After reading through about 50 pages of commentary on this subject on various message boards, I can say that Celtics fans are definitely divided on this one. billfromBoston gives the positive side of this better than anyone:
1. The Celtics will be contending for a title 2. National interest in the team will increase 3. The Celtics will have an easier time attracting FA 4. The team will have a lot of room under the cap when KG/PP/RA deals expire 5. KG/PP/RA could easily be contributing members of a rotation until their LATE 30's (37-3 6. With Bird rights and team success, the Celtics should be able to attract a big name FA or two to "take over" for the aging stars 7. Rondo/TA/Gomes/Powe/Perk are not chopped liver, they may not be super stars, but they can certainly be a winning veteran core while the team looks to add star talent to them 8. It won't take "10 years" to rebuild when KG/PP/RA retire if their is a solid core of role players still with the team. 9. If the team doesn't lure a star FA while KG/PP/RA are here, they'll have the money to shop when they're gone and a young veteran core with a lot of playoff experience. 10. If the team does lure a young star FA while KG/PP/RA are here, then the team is looking at LONG-TERM competitiveness at a championship level ...bottom line, titles are hard to come by no matter what. While Al Jefferson is surely the team's best prospect, the Celtics would still be left with a nice group of young role-player types who have talent and will improve as well...Gomes and Tony Allen are very good offensive players and Rajon Rondo is a very nice young PG prospect. Perk and Powe are very nice rebounding/defensive types in the frontcourt. I wouldn't worry about the long-term future of this team if this trade goes down. The reputation of the team and the flexability that Bird rights gives the club will allow them to add players and avoid any major meltdown...
On the other side of the issue, last week on CelticsStuff Live, Mike Gorman stated that he didn't want to trade Big Al. He said that during the 08-09 season Big Al will become the equal of Garnett on the court. He also said he feels that Al has the potential to become even better than Garnett. Once he hits his peak, he will have about 10 years left at a high level of play while Kevin Garnett will be out of the league. Trading Al for Garnett would be a short sighted move that would give us a 3 -4 year window at the most to win a championship. With 3 max players on the team, that doesn't give us much money to fill the two needs that we actually have. We would still need a back up center and a veteran point guard. We would also have a weak bench after having to give up so much to get KG. Also KG isn't exactly known as a good locker room guy, having punched out teammates on more than one occasion.
Both sides of the argument have merit. Only time will tell which side is right, or maybe both will be right in the long run. Al Jefferson may be a perennial all star and the Celtics may win that 17th championship. Or, Al may be a very good player but not near the level of KG. Or, and this is what I am afraid of, the Celtics won't be able to find that chemistry needed to win a championship. KG will retire as will Pierce and Allen and the Celtics will be back to the beginning and rebuilding all over again while Al is an All Star and winning championships for someone else. One thing is for certain, if KG does come to the Celtics, we will definitely get a lot of media attention and the Celtics will finally be relevant again. But, that may or may not be enough to win a championship.