Imagine a world where the Boston Celtics never traded for Kevin Garnett back in 2007 and the Golden State Warriors got him instead. According to former Warriors GM Chris Mullins that deal was done, and then undone by Warriors ownership. Mullins orchestrated a three-team deal landing Garnett in the Bay Area with Jason Richardson heading to the (then) Charlotte Bobcats and a plethora of picks and young talent heading to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for The Big Ticket, that is until Warriors owner at the time Chris Cohan got cold feet and overrides the trade. Via Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:
"It was basically done," Mullin says. "I was doing an extension with [agent] Andy Miller on Kevin Garnett's deal. KG liked Baron enough, and we had talked enough. He said, 'Yo, I'll do it.'"
Even KG had agreed to the deal, happy to play alongside his buddy Baron Davis and a young and exciting Warriors team that included Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Monta Ellis, and Matt Barnes. Golden State was coming off a huge first round upset of the 1-seed Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference playoffs and had Warriors fans in a frenzy of excitement around their young core. I suppose you could make a case for Cohan, the owner, not wanting to break up his young nucleus for Garnett. It was still wrong, but the way his team finished the season it seemed like they were on the verge of bigger things in time.
So what did they do instead? Well of course trade Richardson for rookie Brandon Wright (8th overall) on draft night instead. They could have had a 1st-ballot Hall of Famer and chose a rookie out of UNC instead who averages 6.8 ppg and 2.7 rebounds for his career (he does still play today), and they played the same position.
I went to check Golden State's blogosphere reaction to the Wright/Richardson trade when it happened and it's priceless. A blog post on GoldenStateOfMind.com dated the day of the draft titled "BREAKING NEWS: Warriors Trade Jason Richardson for Brandan Wright" has only 9 words after the heading in the whole post:
"I just had the life sucked out of me..."
Can you imagine if they knew Mullins had deal for Garnett in place for Richardson, that Garnett gave the green light to, and it got shot down by the owner? Yikes.
On the Celtics end, Danny Ainge was busy trying to get another star to his team so he could make his team attractive enough to get that same green light from KG on any potential deal. That very same night Ainge is making a deal for Ray Allen, which ultimately was enough to get Garnett to sign off on his no-trade clause and paved the way for his deal to Boston. But what if the Garnett-to-Golden State deal had gone down that same night? If Ainge was looking ahead at getting KG as well I wonder what his plan B could have been.
Was there another star lost on a crappy team he would've gone after? Pau Gasol was still in Memphis at the time, but aside from him nobody jumps out at me. Maybe he would'e been happy to make a smaller deal for some front line depth and build around Al Jefferson down low. It's crazy to think of all the ramifications around the league had KG gone to Golden State instead of Boston, but I think it's safe to say Celtics fans are all happy with the way it turned out.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 3/22/2017 05:13:00 PM Tweet Edit