The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly agreed to a unique trade to send Celtics coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers in exchange for an unprotected first-round draft pick in 2015. The deal, according to various leaks, was somewhat contingent on a later deal that would send Kevin Garnett to the Clippers, causing some to believe that the Celtics are in the mood to “blow it up” — sending their various former championship pieces elsewhere and start fresh.
Garnett makes sense for the Nets. They need a defensive-minded power forward who can keep Brook Lopez focused. They need someone who can give the roster a jolt of intensity and discipline that it lacked last year. They need to fill the aging veteran quotient void left behind by Jerry Stackhouse’s departure. The Celtics ranked either first or second in the league defensively in five of Garnett’s seven years anchoring the paint, and finished 5th and 7th in the other two years. Every year, you expect him to finally slow down, but he keeps plugging along.
The Nets’ only option to acquire Garnett would be to send Kris Humphries The Expiring Contract® to Boston, which in the most basic scenario would work as a one-for-one deal. The deal would basically swap the two forwards (who earn nearly identical contracts), but save Boston the second year of Garnett’s contract, worth $12 million ($6 million guaranteed).
If the Nets choose to make the deal more complicated — this is the Nets, remember! — they could also take on one of Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, or Courtney Lee, sending out any of their players currently under contract — Mirza Teletovic and MarShon Brooks would be the best options, considering the team’s current salary.
But herein lies the problem: neither team should do any iteration of the deal.
- First and foremost, it would be a shock if the Celtics traded Garnett, their Ubuntu heart and soul, to anyone in the Atlantic Division. The biggest trade the two teams have made recently was to acquire MarShon Brooks on draft night. Hardly a move of Garnett’s caliber, who brought the Celtics their first NBA championship since 1986 in 2008. If the Celtics want to move their pieces, my guess is they’d do whatever possible to send Garnett/Pierce/Rondo/Jeff Green to the Western Conference first, where the Celtics would only have to deal with them twice per year.
- Trading Humphries for Garnett would be a pure salary dump for Boston, but if they’re acquiring Humphries, they’d better be getting rid of Rondo, too:
- For the Celtics to show true interest, my guess is they’d want to include one of the three names I listed above — Terry, Bass, or Lee — with Lee the most interesting piece since his contract extends through 2015-16, one year longer than the other two.
But that would mean the Nets have to part with Brooks, their best young prospect, and Teletovic, who struggled through his first season but showed promise in spurts. Is it worth it to the Nets to acquire two bigger contracts, forcing Mikhail Prokhorov to spend more and more into the luxury tax, for a short-term move that might get them into the Eastern Conference Finals in Year 1 at best?
- Seriously, Humphries and Rondo would kill each other. Not to mention that Garnett, who has a no-trade clause, and Gerald Wallace aren’t the best of friends:
Obviously anything is possible. The NBA is a crazy place, full of crazy people, that do crazy things. One of those things may be to send Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. But like most deals, don’t wait for or count on it.