Since Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending knee injury, there has been speculation about the Boston Celtics trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Garnett has recently popped up in rumors involving the L.A. Clippers and the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets checked in on Garnett as well, according to the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla and have been told that Garnett has no interest in going to Denver.Pierce has also been on the trading block, with the Clippers and Memphis Grizzles mentioned recently.
A funny thing has happened since Rondo went down with injury. The Celtics have won six straight and have played much better team basketball.
The Celtics look to be headed in one direction, and the Lakers are headed in the opposite way.
Boston is a far better team with Rondo, but his injury has seemed to shake the team out of the malaise that they have been in for most of the season. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee have both been far better since Rondo's injury. Everyone on the Celtics roster has stepped up.
Ainge tried to diffuse the trade rumors on Boston radio station WEEI, detailed in this report from ESPN Boston.
If the season ended tonight, the Celtics would be matched up with the Miami Heat. I'm sure the Heat want no part of that matchup, even with Rondo on the sidelines. Boston's roster is not as good as Miami's, but the Celtics are deep enough to be a tough out for any team they face.
Factor in the mindset that everyone has written the Celtics off since the Rondo injury, and it gives Boston the prerequisite chip on their shoulder that they need.
Boston's management has a lot of tough decisions to make between now and the trade deadline.
Hopefully Garnett and Pierce will continue to make it a difficult choice for Ainge.