The NBA rumors landscape is typically all draft hype at this point in the year, but of course, the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics have other ideas.
As has been widely reported recently, the two teams are attempting to work out a deal that will send veteran big man Kevin Garnett to the Clippers—along with coach Doc Rivers—in exchange for, well, we’re not really sure what yet.
As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported, Garnett is willing to waive his no-trade clause in the event Rivers goes to Los Angeles:
Wojnarowski also reported that the biggest hang-up in a potential deal is the possible inclusion of guard Eric Bledsoe:
And of course, there’s another potential setback to be resolved in the form of contracts to match salary, as noted by Mike Gambardella:
What we can take away from all of this is simple: both teams are interested in making it happen. Danny Ainge and Gary Sacks want to work something out, and now the only issue is figuring out which players (and coach) will be involved in the deal.
The most likely scenario is one that involves Garnett and Rivers heading to Los Angeles in exchange for Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. Rivers wouldn’t technically be a part of a trade, but in the event of such a deal, he would be released from his contract and free to sign with the Clippers.
Apart from giving up a top trade chip in Bledsoe, the Clippers don’t have much reason to balk at the terms. Likewise, Boston is in need of youth at both positions and could do a lot worse than to give up Garnett in the twilight of his career, especially if Rivers is actively searching for the exit.
With mutual interest and nothing more than some matching salaries to work out, it seems extremely likely this deal happens in the near future. Give or take a role player or two to match contracts, expect a deal similar to this to happen.
In all likelihood, the Clippers won’t move Bledsoe unless a deal for Garnett completely falls through the floor, but there’s always a possibility.
According to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, Los Angeles is also exploring a deal that will send Bledsoe to the Orlando Magic—along with forward Caron Butler—for shooting guard Arron Afflalo:
What could prevent the Magic from taking more baby steps ... is merely the formation of the next NBA superpower. That's all.
If you believe the Internet intel, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Magic have been discussing a trade that would send promising young point guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran forward Caron Butler to Orlando for shooting guard Arron Afflalo.
Big win for the Magic in a season of very few wins.
But when something appears too good to be true, it usually is.
It’s no secret Bledsoe’s presence may make re-signing Chris Paul this summer a little more difficult, but the idea that the Clippers would simply dump him off is far-fetched.
That’s not to say Afflalo wouldn’t be a terrific fit in Los Angeles, but considering what Boston is potentially willing to give up in a deal for Bledsoe, this rumor seems more fiction than fact.
Verdict: Not going to happen.
1 More Caveat
Why in the world is Los Angeles so enamored with an aging Garnett nearing the end of his career?
Well, that answer is pretty complex. Garnett isn’t the biggest piece of the puzzle. Along with the addition of Rivers, the Clippers are also likely doing some addition by subtraction, setting up a situation in which Paul will be more inclined to stay in town as opposed to setting off for greener pastures.
With Bledsoe out of the picture, Paul won’t be under any pressure of losing minutes to the up-and-comer. With Bledsoe out of town, CP3 will be assured of still being the man in charge of the offense.
But keeping Paul happy isn’t limited to sending Bledsoe out of town. It may also include giving him another superstar to play with.
According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers were searching for a deal that would send Dwight Howard across town in a sign-and-trade:
As Wojnarowski also noted, the Los Angeles Lakers will probably never let that happen, nor should they.
While losing Howard to free agency and getting nothing in return would be a big hit to the Lakers, it’s unlikely they would get enough talent in return to make a sign-and-trade worth the extra cost.
Los Angeles is already up against the luxury tax, in danger of paying an exorbitant sum for its players already under contract. Unless the Clippers were willing to part with someone like Blake Griffin (also not likely to actually happen), the Lakers would have no reason to want anything in return for D12.
There are, of course, caveats that would change the status quo in this situation, but few are likely. The Lakers simply can’t take on salary equivalent to Howard’s without paying a huge amount in luxury taxes, and there probably isn’t a team willing to give up enough young talent to make the exchange worth the price.
Verdict: Really not going to happen.
A Break From the Madness
Here’s one that is actually plausible.
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, the Dallas Mavericks are extremely interested in trading the No. 13 pick in the upcoming NBA draft:
The rumors about the Dallas Mavericks wanting to trade the 13th pick are accurate. Dallas doesn’t want to pay guaranteed money to a lottery pick and they’d love to package Shawn Marion with the pick because they are hoping to be active in free agency this summer. The Mavericks are very high on Michael Carter-Williams so if they keep the pick, he’ll likely be their top target. However, they’d love to move it in the coming weeks.
Kennedy’s report makes sense, but as is the case with plenty of teams looking to wheel and deal draft picks this year, the market has to actually be there.
In a weak draft with little elite talent, teams simply aren’t willing to trade up. Unless a top-tier player falls to No. 13 and a team in the bottom half of the first round is willing to move up to acquire him, Dallas is going to have a hard time getting rid of its selection.
As Kennedy noted, however, Michael Carter-Williams could be on the Mavs’ radar. Given his intriguing intangibles and recent climb up the draft board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Syracuse guard garner top-10 attention on June 27.
In that particular case, it would make some sense for Dallas to actually move up to acquire him.
Regardless of the details, the fact that Dallas wants out of the 13th pick means a deal is entirely possible. All the Mavericks need is a willing trade partner.
Verdict: Entirely Plausible. More than likely.