It appears that Kevin Garnett’s wish to stay in Minnesota has all but melted away. There is a deal in place that would sent Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff (expiring contract), Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes and two first round picks. Though it sounds like a lot, the possibility of teaming up Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Garnett was too good to pass up for Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
Garnett is said to be demanding at least a contract extension out of the trade, which according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, would be four years for $116 million, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement since Garnett still has two years left on his current deal, one of the highest paying contracts in the NBA.
ESPN.com Page Two’s Bill Simmons, a life-long Celtics fan, nearly peed himself when he finally wrote a new article on the website. Though he admits that the tandem probably only has 2-3 years to win a championship before one or two of the pieces breaks down, their chances to at least make the NBA Finals certainly skyrockets.
Though the Celtics did give up significant pieces, including Jefferson, who Ainge essentially said was untouchable earlier this year, they are left with a rather young and athletic team surrounding the triumvirate of superstars. Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine make up the “veteran” portion of the remaining players and they will be joined by Gabe Pruitt from USC, Glen “Big Baby” Davis from LSU, Leon Powe from Cal-Berkeley and Brandon Wallace from South Carolina. Though they may have some growing pains early, there is no one better to learn from than Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Minnesota is left in a rather interesting situation, as they get considerably younger, but not necessarily better. Jefferson, who had an excellent season last year, now must play in the Western Conference against other big men such as reining-MVP Dirk Nowitzki, former-MVP Tim Duncan, potential Rookie of the Year Greg Oden, Pau Gasol, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, and Amare Stoudemire, among others. However, the Timberwolves do have a nice nucleus of players to build around, including Randy Foye and Corey Brewer. A starting lineup of Jefferson, Juwon Howard, Corey Brewer, Gerald Green and Randy Foye would certainly be able to compete, though I am not sure how much success they will have early on in the Western Conference.
Sebastian Telfair goes to Minnesota, where his cousin Stephon Marbury began his career. Marbury had a tumultuous time for the Timberwolves, but did enjoy playing with Garnett, an opportunity Telfair clearly doesn’t have. It will be interesting to watch whether Telfair can grow up and play to the ability that he showed when he was drafted out of Lincoln High School in New York City, the same high school his cousin attended. Both won numerous state championships for the Rail Splitters.
Though the trade is still not official, it sounds like it is all but done. A tough break for all the other Eastern Conference teams, but great news for the Boston Celtics and their fans.