According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Boston Celtics are open to trading Kevin Garnett. This comes after season-ending injuries were sustained by Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa.
If these rumors prove to hold weight, general manager Danny Ainge must command a high price for KG.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News first broke the story of a potential trade between the Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers on February 3. Deveney reported that L.A. had reached out to Boston and offered Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for KG.
Chris Broussard of ESPN confirmed the interest, but contradicted the report that contact had been made.
Ainge later stated that the Celtics are unlikely to trade Garnett this season (via ESPN Boston). This all came before Barbosa's injury, though, which has many speculating that a trade could be back on the agenda.
With all of this being said, we would be remiss to ignore the most important factor of all: Garnett has a no-trade clause.
Told Kevin Garnett will not waive no trade unless Pierce is dealt, and then only to LA. Lives in Malibu.— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) February 4, 2013
The validity of this report is unclear. The fact that KG has power over where he ends up is perfectly understood.
This is exactly why Ainge must command a high price to even begin talks of a trade involving Garnett.
Examining the Eric Bledsoe Deal
As previously stated, reports surfaced that the Boston Celtics could potentially trade Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers. In return, the Celtics would receive 23-year-old point guard Eric Bledsoe.
The question is, how much would this actually help the Celtics?
There is no denying that Bledsoe would make Boston a better team. He's a supremely efficient player who has already emerged as one of the premier defenders at his position.
In his final start before the previously injured Chris Paul returned to the Clippers' rotation, Bledsoe put up 27 points and six steals to display his two-way dominance.
If Bledsoe were to join the Celtics, they'd have a potentially elite backcourt tandem between he and Avery Bradley. Both are considered lock-down defenders and each would force turnovers and create transition scoring opportunities.
Paired with sharpshooter Jason Terry, Boston would have the potential for something special.
With that being said, this deal does not compensate for the loss of Boston's top interior defender. Caron Butler is a quality player, but he's also a small forward.
With Boston already running thin inside, how could they afford to lose their most reliable big? The truth is, they couldn't.
Perhaps most important of all, we can't help but ask what this deal would mean for Boston's long-term future. Is this team going to become Eric Bledsoe's to run and lead?
If so, what happens to Rajon Rondo?
What About Rondo?
Rajon Rondo received surgery to repair a partially torn ACL on February 13, 2013 (via ESPN Boston). There was no structural damage from the injury, which doctors believe could potentially accelerate Rondo's return.
In other words, Rondo could be ready for the Celtics' 2013-14 regular season opener in, roughly, nine months.
With this being known, the Celtics are in position to be ready to follow down the path of the "Rondo era." This is something few in Boston oppose, as Rondo was leading the league in assists prior to his injury.
So where does Eric Bledsoe fit into all of this?
That isn't a question I have an answer to, as he doesn't fit at all. In fact, Bledsoe would be found in the same situation in Boston as he presently is in Los Angeles.
Stuck behind an elite point guard with a plethora of backcourt depth surrounding him.
With this being known, one can't help but wonder why Boston would execute a trade for Bledsoe. He's a phenomenal talent with star upside, but Rondo is already an elite point guard.
Unless they plan on trading Rondo, as well, this deal can only cause one to wonder what the intent is.
Furthermore, Kevin Garnett remains one of the most respected defenders in the league. Why would Ainge even consider trading the legend for a player who would only start for half of a season?
More specifically, a player who has no experience in starting during the postseason.
In an ideal world, Ainge would receive draft choices and young interior depth. If Garnett is dealt, it would be to build towards the future and create a team that Rondo can lead to the promise land.
By acquiring Bledsoe, however, Ainge might as well abandon Rondo altogether.
This is why Ainge must set the standard high for a trade involving Garnett. Rather than accepting any form of elite youth, he must weigh the true benefits of a deal involving one of the franchise's legendary figures.
If he fails to do so, the Celtics will be left asking one question—what happens next?