Kevin Garnett Does Not Think That He and Paul Pierce Can Outduel LeBron JamesTrade speculation does not interest me--but a deal that probably would have happened if Kevin Garnett had not very publicly quashed it is certainly worthy of discussion. As has been widely reported by various outlets, Minnesota and Boston were close to agreeing to a trade that would have sent Garnett to Boston in exchange for several players plus the fifth overall selection in the 2007 draft. This would have allowed Minnesota to start over with a crop of young, talented players, led by Al Jefferson, Randy Foye and whoever the Timberwolves selected with the fifth pick; meanwhile, Boston would instantly become a serious Eastern Conference contender, led by the duo of Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Garnett does not have a no-trade clause but he can effectively scuttle any proposed deal because he can opt out of his contract in one year and become a free agent. Naturally, all Garnett has to do is make it clear that he has no intention of staying with his new team and that kills any potential trade. In other words, while Garnett cannot choose his new destination he has a pretty powerful say in deciding where he won't go. The question, though, is what Garnett has in mind for his future. Perhaps he and his agent know something that the rest of us don't, but it is far from certain that a better situation will emerge for him than playing alongside Pierce in an Eastern Conference where LeBron James carried a team all the way to the NBA Finals. If Garnett does not think that he and Pierce together can beat James and the Cavaliers then how much help does Garnett think that he needs? Maybe his goal is to land in Phoenix and play alongside Steve Nash--but if Garnett goes there then obviously Amare Stoudemire or Shawn Marion leave and it is not at all clear that Garnett is enough of an upgrade over either player to make a difference against the San Antonio Spurs. Frankly, considering Stoudemire's youth and Marion's all-around game, it could be argued that Garnett is not an upgrade over either player, period.
It will be interesting to see which deal bubbles up next and if Garnett immediately shoots that one down, too. Perhaps he is content to simply stay in Minnesota, well off of the national radar, collect his paycheck and become a free agent a year from now.
posted by David Friedman @ 3:39 PM