So this is how these things go. A trade rumor starts. GM's deny it, because they ALWAYS deny trade rumors. Nothing good could ever come from admitting that you're shopping your star players. Then the rumor pops up again. More denials. Trades in the NBA run a very similar path. Kevin Garnett trade rumors have their own little wrinkle. KG is one of the most loyal players out there. He hates change. He had to be convinced to come to Boston and if the Celtics/Clippers trade is going to go down, he'd have to be convinced hard to go to L.A. (and waive his no trade clause).
Clippers superstars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul started the wooing today:
It was pure coincidence but it certainly raised a few eyebrows among the assembled media.
As the NBA All-Stars from the East and West gathered on a makeshift dais to sit on director's chairs before practice on Saturday, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin were seated next to Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett.
Paul and Griffin were no strangers to the rumors as they sat down next to Garnett.
"I think people are just talking," Paul said. "At the end of the day, who wouldn't want to have Kevin Garnett on their team? I talk about that guy all day, every day, his intensity to the game and how he plays the game. He's a special player. That's a guy right there that I looked up to for a long time. Me and Chauncey (Billups) are really close and he and Chauncey are really close and everything I know about him is that he's a very loyal guy."
"I love the way he competes as a player," Griffin said. "He's a very, very serious competitor. His level of professionalism is off the charts. Every game, I've heard he's the most intense guy to be around. That's tough to do to play as many games as he's played and still have that level of intensity."
As much as Griffin likes the Clippers' roster, he made it clear that there is certainly room for improvement on the team and sometimes personnel moves are a part of that improvement process.
"I think we need to be better," Griffin said. "I think we have enough talent to be a championship contender ... Sometimes you have to plant the seeds and let them grow and all that but with the pieces we have now is the time to continually keep attacking and make those moves to be a championship team."
Telling that Paul and Griffin didn't just say they were content with their squad. A year and a half ago Griffin was all about playing with DeAndre Jordan. I'm sure Paul Pierce felt the same way with Al Jefferson back in 2007. I wouldn't be surprised if Griffin and especially CP3 talked to KG this weekend about linking up and going for a couple titles. I also wouldn't be surprised if Chauncey Billups placed a call or two to KG (Added benefit for Billups would be a bigger role with Bledsoe gone).
Do I think the KG/Bledsoe trade will go down? No. I put the odds against it. Ainge in only a few days would have to complete a Pierce trade, then convince KG to waive his no trade clause, and then agree to a trade with the Clippers. Way too complex. Is it impossible? No. The odds are against it, but it's possible. At some point Ainge wants to contend for Banner 18. He can punt for a couple years or start building the next championship team now.
Fans will go bonkers if KG and Pierce are traded (which is their right). Personally 10 years from now I don't think more than 1% will care if KG retired a Celtic or not. I think they'll love him regardless and care about the current team. Also, I think if we added some very good young players at the trade deadline, fans would grow to love them too. Just like they go crazy when Jeff Green dunks, they'll love any new Celtic that performs.
I'm down for whatever happens this week. If KG remains a Celtic, I'll be excited to see him continue to play for the Celtics. A joy to watch. If we end up with players like Eric Bledsoe and Jordan (the guy I wanted Danny to draft in 2008 instead of Giddens. He never listens to me!) I'll be excited to see what these new young, run and gun Celtics will look like. One thing's for sure, any denials or definitive statements from GM's and players hold much less weight this week than the trade deadline. That will be the only definitive moment. Odds are KG will still be a Celtic after that deadline. But it's not guaranteed.
Related: Celtics and Clippers discussing Kevin Garnett for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan trade
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