9 Reasons KG-to-Clippers Rumor Made a Ton of Sense
Though the rumors have recently been squashed, the deal makes sense on many levels. The talks have centered around the Boston Celtics sending Garnett to Los Angeles in exchange for point guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler.
This mega-deal would give both the Clippers and the Celtics just what they need for their respective goals.
1. Celtics Can Acquire Assets
It may seem blasphemous to Celtics' fans to hear that the 36-year-old power forward, who led their team to the 2008 NBA Championship, should be moved.
But think back to six years ago. The Celtics had a mess of a team, finishing the 2006-07 season dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 24-58 record and a bleak future.
However, they were stockpiled with young talent. The roster had such promising young stars as Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Delonte West, and Sebastian Telfair, in addition to the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
With all those assets, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was able to acquire star players Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in separate deals, moves which would ultimately largely help the Celtics win the title in 2008.
Since the Celtics are unlikely to make a run this year, they would be better off putting themselves in a similar situation to the one they were in back in 2007. It might be a tough pill for fans to swallow, but acquiring a piece like Bledsoe would give the Celtics the potential to make another one of those franchise-altering deals.
2. Celtics Can Help Get the Future Jump Started
Since Rondo has gone down, not many people have faith that the Celtics can contend this season. And with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett entering the twilight of their careers, it doesn't seem likely they will contend in the next couple seasons.
Moving Garnett would propel the Celtics into the team's next era. They will get to see what the young mix of players they have compiled can do by themselves. It would be interesting to see how guys like Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Bledsoe would perform together.
If the Celtics were to not make a trade, that would be the core of the team moving forward. Those guys would have time to develop a nice chemistry that could continue in the following season.
3. Let Fab Melo Develop
With the loss of Garnett, the Celtics would have a huge void when it comes to big men. Rookie Fab Melo is a young 7'0" player who definitely has promise. Last season at Syracuse, Melo improved in all areas, posting 7.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.9 BPG.
Players of that size and potential don't just grow on trees. The Celtics need to give him some more playing time in regular season games so he can get acclimated to the NBA. He sure won't be getting any better sitting on the bench.
With Garnett out, the Celtics will have to rely on Melo more, and this will give them a chance to begin grooming a potentially good center. That will go a long way for the Celtics in the future.
4. Gives Celtics Opportunity to Make Big Rondo Trade
Without Rondo, the Celtics no longer have a point guard through whom they can run their offense. Rondo, who led the league in assists before his injury, was brilliant at that. Bledsoe may not have the same ball-distributing ability shown by Rondo, but he could develop into a good point guard.
Bledsoe has a different skill set than Rondo, but it could be a nice change. His Per-21-Minutes numbers are quite impressive--9.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals. He also does what Rondo cannot do, and that is shoot free throws.
If Bledsoe were to play that well with the Celtics, the team could definitely move their All-Star point guard. Rondo is one of the best point guards in the league, so many teams would be interested. It is tough to say what they would be able to get for him, but whatever it is should be a very important piece to help the team in the future.
5. Give the Clippers a Veteran Leader
The Clippers have some established players on their roster, but they could still use Garnett.
Their two biggest stars, Paul and Griffin, had won just one combined playoff round between them until the Clippers won their first round series against the Grizzlies last season. It would help to have someone who has been around for a while and knows how to win a championship.
The Clippers do have veterans who have won before--most notably Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom, but neither of those guys are the players they once were. Garnett isn't, either, but he is still good enough to give star-caliber contributions most nights. Garnett could give the first unit that leadership and experience that could help them on their way to a title.
6. The Clippers Can Afford to Lose Some Pieces
The Clippers' bench is second in scoring this season. Eric Bledsoe, in fact, is only their third best bench scorer. He has been more vital lately, though, with Chris Paul out. But when Paul gets back, Bledsoe will just become another good bench player for the Clippers.
After Bledsoe, the Clippers have guys like Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups to contribute off the bench.
Butler will be missed, of course, but they can plug Matt Barnes into his starting spot. Barnes actually averages more minutes and more points per game than Butler does.
The two pieces that the Clippers would be losing is so little compared to the huge piece they would be gaining. At least for this season, they would become a very formidable team.
7. Championship Windows Are Only Open for so Long
Notice how there are so few dynasties in sports. A majority of the teams who win a championship are just one and done. So many teams knock on the door for several years, and they just can't break through.
Some teams have a young core and feel like their future is set in stone for the foreseeable future. Things just don't work out that way, though. Injuries happen, good players can regress, contract disputes can get messy.
It is good to have an eye on the future, but when you have a chance to bounce on a title, you need to take it. The Clippers have a great team in their prime right now. They have some tough competition to face in the Western Conference, but Garnett could put them over the top. Acquiring him would give them the opportunity to take home the greatest prize in their championship window.
8. Bench Doesn't Win Playoff Games
Well, that isn't completely true. Having a good deep bench is pretty important during any time of the year, but it mostly helps out during the regular season. Having a good bench can allow a coach to rest some of his stars at points in the season and still give his team a chance to win.
In the playoffs, the competition level steps up big time. No longer are the punching bag Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns on the schedule. You need to go out there and play the best teams in the league, with the best stars. And chances are, when you play against a top team with a superstar, he will be out on the floor for most of the game.
By shipping Bledsoe, the Clippers would lose the guy who spells Chris Paul throughout the season. While that is an important role, Paul will likely play more minutes when it comes down to the postseason, so Bledsoe would lose minutes playing the point during the playoffs anyway. Plus, veteran Billups is back healthy, and he is a very adequate backup point guard.
With Garnett, another bona fide superstar, the Clippers will have a guy who is able to play against the other greats, and give them that front-end talent that helps win playoff games.
9. The Clippers Can Rest Garnett
The Celtics are the worst rebounding team in the league, which makes it difficult to sit Garnett, their top rebounder, and still be effective. The Clippers, on the other hand, have a number of players who can rebound.
They have, of course, two big men in their starting lineup, Griffin and Jordan, who can grab boards. Jordan also gives them a defender in the paint. Garnett would not be asked to do as much, because these guys can take some of his minutes, and allow Garnett to stay fresh.
Additionally, Garnett will not be asked to take on as many duties of a center as he does with the Celtics. He has a skill set which allows him to flourish when there is a big center around him, just like when the Celtics had Kendrick Perkins.