According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Los Angeles Clippers have contacted the Boston Celtics in reference to a potential trade. The deal would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles, with Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler headed back to Boston.
Plain and simple, the Clippers would be crazy to trade Bledsoe for KG.
Since Deveney's report, ESPN's Chris Broussard has confirmed interest but disputed contact. In other words, the Clippers are curious, but they've yet to reach out to the Celtics.
Let's keep it that way.
Bledsoe has emerged as one of the most critical pieces to the Clippers' championship dreams. He's started 11 games in place of the injured Chris Paul and thrived in that time.
As for KG, he doesn't want to leave Boston. He simply knows this is the way of the business (via Celtics Hub).
Well Danny made it very obvious since day one when he brought me and Ray here to be aligned with Paul that he was going to do whatever was best for the organization. He’s made that apparent so I’ve understood that. I bleed green, I die green, that’s what it is, but it is a business though, and when it crossed paths with it, I’ll deal with it. Trades are a part of this league. Every year you are going to hear certain things. If I were ya’ll I wouldn’t read much into it.
KG hit the nail on the head with his analysis.
As a general manager, it is Danny Ainge's job to explore all possible trades and the ways they would improve his team. By reaching out to another organization, Ainge is simply gauging the potential interest in a deal he has yet to sign off on executing.
Should Ainge make the offer official, there is nothing personal about it. It's a business decision.
Even still, this speculation should end at "interest."
There is no denying that Garnett would improve the Clippers and Bledsoe the Celtics. With that being said, the Clippers may not be able to survive beyond 2012-13 without Bledsoe.
If Chris Paul re-signs, does Eric Bledsoe become expendable?
We're so quick to forget Chris Paul is a free agent.
No Guarantee Paul Re-Signs
During July 2012, the Los Angeles Clippers offered Chris Paul a three-year extension worth $60 million (via NBC Sports). Paul turned that deal down and now possesses an expiring contract.
As a result, Paul will become a free agent this summer. Without Bledsoe, the Clippers would face the possibility of entering the 2013-14 season without a franchise point guard.
A risk they cannot afford to take.
To be clear, CP3 turned down the extension in favor of the max contract he's likely to receive this summer. Furthermore, the Clippers can offer Paul more years and money than any other team under the new CBA.
Because of that, there is reason to believe Paul will remain in Los Angeles.
However, there is no guarantee that Paul will take money over what he could perceive as a better chance to win a title. Both the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks have the cap room to make those type of offers.
A potential grouping of Paul, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith could be on the horizon.
With that threat in mind, it would be nothing short of counter-productive for the Clippers to part ways with Bledsoe. Assuming Paul signs elsewhere, Bledsoe will be in line to become the franchise point guard.
For perspective as to what Bledsoe could achieve, he's averaging 17.4 points, 7.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 1.8 blocks over the past five games.
CP3's History of Injuries
One might be inclined to label the numbers I just posted as irrelevant should Paul re-sign with the Clippers. Don't fool yourselves, folks.
Bledsoe will be just as valuable to the future of this franchise if CP3 remains on the roster.
Paul has missed 18 games over the past two seasons. For that reason, it is fair to assume that Bledsoe will see starts at the point.
So why trade your point guard of the future when the present one has issues with remaining healthy?
When it comes to the playoffs, we know that CP3 will battle through anything to remain active. During the regular season, however, head coach Vinny Del Negro will almost always take the, "Better safe than sorry," approach.
It is then that Bledsoe will be needed most.
Assuming Chauncey Billups were healthy, this may not be a conversation. The fact of the matter is, Billups is 36 and injury-prone.
Bledsoe is a necessity for the Clippers to reach their potential. No matter how great Kevin Garnett may be.
Two Lead Guard System
In case you're unfamiliar with the Los Angeles Clippers, they've run a two point guard system over the past two seasons. It started with Paul and Billups in 2011-12.
In 2012-13, Paul has started alongside capable ball handler and hybrid guard Willie Green. Recent results suggest that Bledsoe will soon take Green's place in the starting lineup.
Are you starting to see the upside yet?
Bledsoe is a defensive dynamo with the offensive upside to become a star in this league. He's also playing alongside the perfect mentor in CP3.
For those unfamiliar, Paul is a six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection.
With this being known, why would the Clippers opt to neutralize their future by trading for the present? Keep in mind, there is no guarantee that the 36-year-old Garnett would keep Paul in town.
With all factors weighed, there is only one conclusion to be made—the Clippers would be crazy to trade Bledsoe for Garnett.