Ok, so I thought things over, ate some sweets, and just sat down with a sugar rush and a head that is swimming like Nemo. (Let’s see a mainstream media type start an article like that!) Of course, by the time I get to the end of this article, the next rumor will already make it obsolete. (Update: Oh my prophetic soul.) Still, I can’t help myself.
Yes, I am officially going to start the 3rd post of the day on the same rumor. I have to. KG has been my trade binky for so long and Al Jefferson has become the personification of hope for Celtics fans. To pit them against each other and ask me to choose is enough to make my head explode.
First of all, the reason nobody was talking about this deal a week ago is because everyone assumed that for the TWovles to deal KG, it would take Jefferson to get him. Everyone also assumed that Jefferson was untouchable. So it was a non-starter. Then logically, the only reason we are hearing about this rumor (from multiple credible sources) is because one of those assumptions changed (or was never true to begin with). The rumor that Ford quoted seems to indicate that the Celtics are the ones that blinked.
If the poll on this site is any indication, a lot of Celtics fans would be very upset by that conclusion. Al Jefferson has become the one guy that is universally regarded as the future of this franchise. He’s always had the talent, but it wasn’t till this year that he’s put it all together. The feeling is that he’s so young and he’s so good already, that he can only keep getting better. Of course, that also means that his trade value may never be higher. So if Ainge were going to take his one big swing for the fences, and he wanted to make sure the deal got done, this is the chip he could use to get it done.
And how about the prize? Garnett is that one guy that (paired with Pierce) would vault this team right into the top 4 teams in the East. Once in the playoffs, you never know what could happen. If Rondo, West, Perkins, and Gomes all take that next step in their development… If Wally and Tony Allen come back healthy… If, if, if. You have to start thinking Championship with that group. Otherwise it isn’t worth the risk.
Oh yeah, that risk. The thing that has every Celtic fan wringing their hands with this rumor is the risk. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, I’m glad you asked. The worst that could happen is that KG doesn’t sign an extension, injuries derail the season (just like it did this season), and Garnett opts out of his contract to go play somewhere else leaving the Celtics back to where they started, minus the best rebuilding blocks we’ve had in years. Sure we’d have some cap room, but we wouldn’t have much else. I would have to think in that doomsday scenario everyone would be out the door. Ainge, Doc, Pierce, everyone. (even the biggest Doc-bashers wouldn’t want it to go down like that)
However, I would submit that Ainge would not make a deal like this without some assurance that KG would indeed sign an extension on his (already huge) contract. Perhaps lining his contract up with Pierce’s deal. For that to happen, either Ainge would have to play a hunch, work some back channel shady communications, or simply wait till after July 1st to work it out. Option C seems the most likely, so you would think we won’t have this resolved by draft night. That means if the deal is still on the table, whoever the Celtics pick is going to have to be a guy that both the TWolves and Celtics really like a lot. Boy is that going to make for some mental gymnastics on June 28th!
So could it happen? I think there’s a chance, yes. Would I want it to happen? When push comes to shove, and the deal was on the table in front of me, I’d turn it down. I just couldn’t let Jefferson go this early. And you KNOW how much it would hurt me to turn down Kevin Garnett in a Celtics uniform! Don't make me chose Danny! I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want KG and Al Jefferson! But that and about $6.50 will get me a cup of coffee but not much else.
If you tell me that Ainge is really going to make a deal involving Jefferson, (after tearing my hair out) I would at least submit that we can’t give up the #5 pick as well. I could see maybe giving up the #5 pick and getting back the #7 (where presumably Ainge would take Al Thronton). Or perhaps we could convince them to take back Wally instead of Theo (which would make us even thinner but would put us in a better financial situation. But all that is just damage control if Jefferson is leaving town.
Sad to say, but I think Gerald Green is just not going to last long in Boston. He has the highest upside on the team aside from Jefferson, but also the highest probability of becoming a major bust. There’s still too much uncertainty and I think if Pierce wants to win now, the last thing he wants is some kid (playing his position) out there learning on the job.
I would do whatever it took to get KG in a Celtics uniform short of dealing Al Jefferson. Take back bad contracts. Deal away Paul Pierce. Whatever. Just don't lose Jefferson.
So where does this leave us (other than at the end of a rambling blog article written by a man with a sugar hangover)? It leaves us where we were for most of last week. Wandering around Rumorville, jumping at shadows and wondering if our dreams will have happy endings or turn quickly into nightmares.