5 NBA Teams That Would Be Ideal Trade Destinations for Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett doesn't have to go anywhere if he doesn't want to, but that doesn't have to stop the Boston Celtics from trying.
Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers believe they can get Garnett to waive his no-trade clause if they put together a deal with the Celtics.
Of course, such thinking could prove futile, as Garnett has said on multiple occasions that he "bleeds" Celtics green.
And yet, you can't help but wonder if his mind can be changed. As well as Boston has been playing of late, the Celtics are not a team prepared to win a championship this season. Would the prospect of contending for one somewhere else eventually get the best of Garnett?
Regardless of what he says, anything is possible until Danny Ainge puts a deal in front him and asks: "So, whaddya think?"
Which NBA teams could actually get Garnett to "think" about leaving Boston while also providing the Celtics with an adequate return?
Garnett of all people understands this league is a business. But he also understands he can determine his own future.
A future that might not have him retiring as a member of the Celtics if the right opportunity presents itself.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted. All trades have also been put through ESPN's Trade Machine to ensure financial propriety.
5. Chicago Bulls
Boston Celtics Get: C Andrea Bargnani (Toronto), SG Wilson Chandler (Denver) and C Timofey Mozgov (Denver)
Chicago Bulls Get: PF Kevin Garnett (Boston) and SG Courtney Lee (Boston)
Denver Nuggets Get: SG Richard Hamilton (Chicago) and C Aaron Gray (Toronto)
Toronto Raptors: PF Carlos Boozer
Oh, the humanity.
Toronto has already discussed the possibility of obtaining Boozer, and this is a deal that would likely catch its attention.
Boozer may be overpaid, but he can still score and rebound in the post, the latter of which Toronto definitely needs after shipping away Ed Davis. Not to mention that the Raptors desperately want Bargs out.
This particular deal may not scream "awesome" for the Nuggets, but they've shown a willingness to part with the expensive Chandler and free-agent-to-be Mozgov.
They get a veteran shooting guard in Hamilton—who the Bulls have shopped previously—and an insurance policy in Gray at center. With the ability to part ways with Hamilton at season's end, this is a deal that could save the Nuggets roughly $30 million over the next three years, just by escaping Chandler's deal.
For the Celtics, Bargnani may not be the ideal piece to receive in return, but he'll help stretch opposing defenses with his three-point shooting. Mozgov is a work in progress, but he's shown some potential on defense when he's not busy being posterized.
Chandler also gives the Celtics someone who can man the shoot guard and small or power forward spots. He's an adequate distance shooter, at his best when he's attacking the rim and a stout defender as well.
The Bulls, you ask? Well they would likely board this train in no time.
Chicago is known to be looking for a shooting guard, and though Lee isn't under the best of contracts, the team can't say no to Garnett.
But would Garnett be able to say no to them?
Perhaps yes, but with a core of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, he might see championship potential in the Windy City.
I know I would.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
Atlanta Hawks Get: C Nikola Pekovic (Minnesota) and PG Luke Ridnour (Minnesota)
Boston Celtics Get: F Josh Smith (Atlanta)
Los Angeles Lakers Get: PF Kevin Garnett (Boston), SG Brandon Roy (Minnesota) and PF Derrick Williams (Minnesota)
Minnesota Timberwolves Get: SF Devin Ebanks (Los Angeles) and PF Pau Gasol (Los Angeles)
Don't laugh, because I'm serious.
As we all know, Garnett's offseason home is in Malibu, and as poorly as the Lakers have played, he may not turn down the opportunity to play close to home as a quartet of All-Stars.
Minnesota has attempted to acquire Gasol on numerous occasions, and considering its reluctance to trade Kevin Love and Andrei Kirilenko, it was obviously offering something similar to that which is given up here.
Ricky Rubio is also a huge advocate of the fellow Spaniard, increasing the likelihood that the Timberwolves wouldn't balk at Gasol's most recent injury.
The Hawks are becoming more and more likely to deal the tumultuous Smith, and as ESPN.com's Chris Broussard notes, they want a big man in return.
Pekovic is having a spectacular season in Minny, and his presence allows Al Horford to shift back to the power forward position. He's eligible for restricted free agency this summer, so Atlanta also has the option of retaining him or letting him go.
Ridnour provides the Hawks with a valuable backup who is on the books for just $4 million next season, roughly half of what free-agent-to-be Devin Harris is earning this season.
Knowing that there's a growing belief the Brooklyn Nets' offer of Marshon Brooks and Kris Humphries is the best the Hawks can expect to see, this return would be welcomed by Atlanta.
For the Celtics, J-Smoove gives them a budding superstar to build around, one whom they've coveted in the past. His athleticism would be a great fit next to Rajon Rondo next season, and he would replace much of the defensive void left by Garnett.
Moving onto the Lakers, Roy's contract is a necessary evil to make this work. Los Angeles can find solace in knowing he comes off the books after next season, though.
Garnett is a better fit to play next to Dwight Howard than Gasol ever will be. He's more comfortable knocking down shots from the outside, and his aggressive demeanor is one that would help keep Howard's ego in check. His defense is also something the Lakers desperately need.
Most importantly, Garnett and Williams serve as a nice insurance policy should Howard spurn the Lakers in free agency. But I don't think he would. I mean, would you want to be the guy that left both Kobe Bryant and Garnett?
I didn't think so.
Would Garnett cast aside the perennial rivalry the Celtics and Lakers share to allow this deal to go through?
His loyalty suggests no, but given the team's proximity to his home and the opportunity that could await, I'm not ready to believe he wouldn't.
3. Golden State Warriors
Boston Celtics Get: SF Harrison Barnes, C Andrew Bogut, C Festus Ezeli and SF Richard Jefferson
Golden State Warriors Get: PF Kevin Garnett and SF Paul Pierce
As Zach Lowe of ESPN Grantland would write, let's file the Warriors under the "Much Longer Shots" category.
While we do this, though, let's also keep an open mind and consider how much sense this could make. Ready? Set? Let's go.
Boston isn't going to be thrilled at taking on Jefferson's contract, but it does expire after next season.
I'm not sure how the Celtics could pass up the opportunity to acquire a talent like Barnes and a potential star in a (healthy) Bogut. They could even get excited about Ezeli, as he provides some nice frontcourt depth and a backup plan should the Bogut acquisition go awry.
As for the Warriors, Garnett is just what they need. He can't block shots like Bogut can, but Golden State is currently allowing more points per 100 possessions when the Australian is on the floor (109.6). Boston is allowing just 98.9 with Garnett in the lineup
Obviously, we must take into account the difference in personnel, but even when we break it down individually, Garnett is still faring better than Bogut.
A huge difference?
Absolutely not, but a difference all the same. Not to mention that Garnett at 36 has also proved more durable than Bogut at 28.
Why would Garnett be amenable to such a deal, though?
Well, that's where Pierce comes in.
Golden State already toiled with the prospect of trading for Rudy Gay, so I can't imagine it being opposed to Pierce. Yes, he's nearly a decade older, but just $4 million of his salary is guaranteed next season and he, unlike Gay, can play off the ball.
Let's also not downplay the advantage Garnett and Pierce would give the Warriors come playoff time. Both are champions and know what it takes to win. On a young Golden State team preparing to embark on its first trip to the postseason in more than a half decade, that can't go overlooked.
Again, such a deal is a long shot. It would be more feasible to see the two sides negotiate Bogut for Garnett nearly straight up, but let's not pretend this isn't intriguing.
Or that Garnett wouldn't at least consider it if Pierce came along for the ride.
2. San Antonio Spurs
Boston Celtics Get: SG Stephen Jackson and C Tiago Splitter
San Antonio Spurs Get: PF Kevin Garnett
San Antonio doesn't present the flashy type of market that Boston does, but Gregg Popovich is a coach you just know Garnett would love playing for.
The Spurs had plans to target Garnett this summer had his decision come down to more than just the Celtics or retirement, so the interest could still be there. San Antonio has also reportedly made a play for Al Jefferson, so they are in the market for a big man.
Tim Duncan and Garnett don't have the best relationship, but all issues can be tabled when it comes to the pursuit of a championship.
Dealing Splitter for Jefferson is a lot different than shipping him out in favor of Garnett, but the latter's contract coincides with the belief that the Spurs' championship window is open for another three years.
As a quick aside, this accord would benefit DeJuan Blair a great deal. With Splitter gone, Coach Pop would be forced to use him more than sparingly. But I digress.
Ideally, the Celtics may want more for Garnett and could attempt to pry Patty Mills and/or a first-round pick from San Antonio, but they are getting a bona fide inside presence in Splitter.
This particular deal also provides Boston with two expiring contracts it can part ways with at season's end. If the Celtics are truly committed to rebuilding, the financial relief has to start somewhere, and that somewhere could be here.
Again, given the history between Garnett and Duncan, this one could prove difficult to finagle. But if the two can put the past in the past, they would instantly form one of the most dangerous frontcourt duos in the NBA.
One that could contend for a championship this year and next.
And even the one after that.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Boston Celtics Get: PG Eric Bledsoe and C DeAndre Jordan
Los Angeles Clippers Get: PF Kevin Garnett
Garnett continues to insinuate otherwise, but I firmly believe the Clippers have the best possible chance at convincing him to waive his no-trade clause.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics and Clippers were engaged in talks of this nature, and it's hard to argue with either side's logic.
Acquiring Bledsoe and Jordan would help Boston stave off a rebuild if it wanted to. Jordan instantly replaces the defensive void left by Garnett and arguably enhances Boston's rebounding and shot-blocking attack.
Bledsoe gives the Celtics a star-esque point guard for the rest of year as well. He's proved to be an explosive scorer with above-average court vision. Think John Wall with a jump shot.
As the only player in the NBA currently averaging at least 10 points, five assists, two steals and one block per 36 minutes, he also gives Boston the option of dealing a healthy Rajon Rondo next season.
The Celtics could also decide to move on from Avery Bradley instead, given that Bledsoe can play off the ball and is posting a 25.7 PER at the shooting guard spot this season. They could also try and make something work with all three.
In other words, this deal presents Boston with options galore.
Much of the same can be said for the Clippers. Garnett can defend the centers that Blake Griffin can't, yet can hit shots from the outside that Jordan can't, thus affording Griffin more space to operate in the low-post.
Aside from the proximity to his Malibu home, the Clippers also have Chris Paul. He's a drive-and-kick and pick-and-roll savant, ensuring that Garnett will receive plenty of open looks on the offensive end.
As one of the most well-balanced team in the league, Los Angeles' red-jerseyed stepchild arguably gives Garnett the best shot at winning a title this season. Though the Clippers aren't the Celtics, winning is the best medicine for any purported aversions.
Oh, and the Clippers also aren't the Lakers, who Garnett may have grown to despise during his tenure in Boston. That's important, too.