According to a Yahoo! Sports report by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics have discussed shipping their 36-year-old All-Star to the Clippers in exchange for guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan.
A number of pieces would need to fall into place before any deal can happen—most notably, Garnett would have to waive his no-trade clause. But if the Clippers are in fact willing to trade two of their younger stars for an aging Garnett, it is an obvious sign that they're pushing all of their chips to the center of the table this season.
The Clippers' motives are clear: Their current iteration of the roster has a better chance of winning an NBA title than any other team in the history of the franchise.
But they are missing a certain something that will put them on the level of the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the prevailing sentiment is that something could come in the form of the 6'11", 253-pound Kevin Garnett.
Even in his 18th year, Garnett continues to be one of the league's premier interior defenders. His defensive rating of 98.0 is the ninth-best mark in the league, and according to Synergy Sports, Garnett holds his defensive assignment to a mere 0.73 points per possession (21st in the NBA).
For all of the accolades given to the Clippers this season (and rightly so), the truth is that they clearly could use a bit of help on the glass. Their defensive rebounding percentage is only 21st in the NBA (72.9 percent), and the addition of Garnett would be a definite boost to a team that is just 13-10 on the season when outrebounded by their opponent.
From an offensive standpoint, Garnett gives the Clippers a much more polished option at the 5 spot than Jordan, whose low-post repertoire is limited at best. Jordan also happens to shoot 42.9 percent from the free-throw line, making him a liability at the end of close games.
Garnett, meanwhile, shoots nearly 80 percent from the charity stripe, and his impressive mid-range jumper—Garnett is shooting 48 percent from 16 to 23 feet this season—would give Blake Griffin more room to operate in the paint.
Of course, Garnett also provides a few things that you can't measure in a simple box score.
Other players on the Clippers have rings—Chauncey Billups, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf—but Garnett brings a certain kind of attitude, toughness and veteran leadership that is in short supply in the Association.
There may not be a more intense competitor in the league, and Garnett would be a valuable asset to the Clippers as they prepare to navigate the gauntlet of the Western Conference in the playoffs.
Any potential Garnett deal presents a unique risk, however. Earlier this week, Garnett hinted at the possibility that this year would mark his final All-Star appearance, but he later backtracked from those comments. Even so, there's a very real possibility that he doesn't play out the remaining two-plus years on his contract.
Conversely, adding Garnett to the mix could result in a deep playoff run (and possibly even a title) that may convince Chris Paul to re-sign and motivate Garnett to play at least one more season.
There's no way of knowing what the next four months will bring. But that likely won't prevent the Clippers from at least trying to go all-in this season, even if it means mortgaging the future.
Having two emerging talents such as Bledsoe and Jordan is a luxury; having a legitimate shot at an NBA championship is a rarity, especially for a Clippers franchise that has made the playoffs just twice in the past 15 seasons.
Unless they act now, it may be a long time before the Clippers find themselves in this position again.
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