Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
In case you haven't had enough of this rumor by now.
Apologies in advance if this is too much for you. I get that there's rumor fatigue on the blog right now. I'll totally understand if you dismiss this post and move on to the next thing. In fact, we've got some nice articles about actual basketball on here as well. But this ongoing rumor about the Clippers' interest in Kevin Garnett is just too large for us not to cover here. My simple request is that if you are going to take the time to comment on this post that you take a minute longer and actually read it. I don't think that's too much to ask.
Preamble over. So with that out of the way...
If you needed any more tea leaves to read, here's a key thing to consider. Everything, ...everything in Clipperland is tied to Chris Paul. He's got the leverage of his impending free agency to hold over the team. Everyone pretty much assumes that he's staying, but he's got that carrot and he's going to use it if he can. Management might be split on what the best options are going forward, but they all have to bow down to what Chris Paul thinks.
Per the Oracle Wojo:
Indeed, the Clippers are genuine contenders this season. They're deep and talented, and Paul makes everything go now. And if the Clippers were to get Garnett to spread the floor, several league GMs and coaches believe the move could transform Los Angeles into a bigger threat to the Miami Heat.
So, does Chris Paul want Kevin Garnett? Read for yourself.
"KG is one of those guys that's once in a lifetime," said Clippers guard Chris Paul. "I'll never forget the first two or three times I played against KG when I came into the league. We both got techs every game just because of the intensity. He'd say something to me, and I wasn't going to back down. He's one of those guys that I genuinely appreciate and always said this, I'd love to have KG on my team. He's focused and I love that about him."
"I think people are just talking," Paul said. "At the end of the day, who wouldn't want to have Kevin Garnett on their team? I talk about that guy all day, every day, his intensity to the game and how he plays the game. He's a special player. That's a guy right there that I looked up to for a long time. Me and Chauncey (Billups) are really close and he and Chauncey are really close and everything I know about him is that he's a very loyal guy."
Now, logically you are thinking "Well, they can want him all they want, but that doesn't mean the Celtics will deal him." Very true. You are wise and bright readers. What it boils down to is price. (Because as we discussed before, if the Celtics really wanted to make a deal, they could probably convince KG to waive his no-trade clause) What price are the Clippers willing to pay for Garnett? At what price would Danny be willing to pull the trigger and sell the idea to Kevin?
Trade talks aren't usually a "take it or leave it" process. They start with lowball offers and go from there.
More than two weeks ago, the Clippers’ proposal centered around Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Garnett, but, as reported by Yahoo! Sports on Friday, the Clippers have upped the deal to include Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan. A source told SN that the original offer was a "starting point," and the Clippers have always been willing to increase their bid.
How much are they willing to increase their bid? If they add in a first round draft pick will that be enough to swing the deal? If there really wasn't any chance that Ainge would make a deal with the Clippers, then why would he be talking to them (reportedly) over the course of several weeks? Just to be polite?
I'm not a huge fan of any of this any more than most of you. But there's smoke here and I'm very much obliged to point it out. Because there very well may be fire there. And if there's fire, there may be a fire sale. So stay tuned.
Bonus Link: Clippers perspective of the rumors.
Update: To be fair, here are some more comments from Chris Paul on the trade rumors.
But despite his affection for Garnett, he insisted that he's not pushing for this particular trade. "No," he said when asked if he had asked Clippers officials to land Garnett. "Everybody knows I love our team. I love the position that we're in right now (third in the Western Conference at 29-17). We've been playing great basketball. Right now, I'm focused on who we have and what we're doing, because we're not playing bad."
Of course you could say "well of course he's going to say that publicly to support his team." Just take it for what it is worth.