7/31 Acquire Kevin Garnett from Minnesota in exchange for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected), a return of Minnesota’s conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak and cash considerations
Well that was surprising. We had completely panned the Ray Allen trade as an attempt to make a 30-win team a 40-win team but it appears there was some method to Danny Ainge’s madness, namely amassing enough star power to convince Kevin Garnett to come to town. The price for KG was not cheap. Jefferson is a very good young player, Gomes is a solid pro, and Green, who will be a good scoring two guard, and draft picks. In addition, Garnett gets a big extension (three years and $60 million that will go into effect after the 2008-09 season).
The deal makes sense but is a true gamble in the sense that Boston really needs to make some waves over the next five years with Garnett to justify the case and outlay of young players. The Celts are now really leveraged in some older players. Paul Pierce is 30, Ray Allen is 32, and KG is 31. Clearly this team is the favorite to win the Atlantic Division but coming out of the East is far from a foregone conclusion. Garnett is still a top player in the NBA but he is no longer in his peak. Indeed, his 2006-07 numbers were his lowest since 2001-02.
So, the Celts will fight the battle against time and try to compete with a bunch of older stars like the Rockets of Olajuwon-Drexler-Barkley fame and the Lakers with Wilt-Baylor-West. On the bright side, both those teams were a few years older in the star positions than the Celts are. On the minus side, the Celts are really thin outside the Big Three and both Pierce and Allen were not healthy last year. In the end, I expect the Celts to flirt with 50 games and get to second round of the playoffs (barring anymore significant acquisitions). I suppose that isn’t as big a deal but for Boston and Ainge that’s enough to at least make the team relevant for the next few years. Ainge has bought himself a little time with this one but he better be ready for 2009 or so when they have to come up with the next plan. At that point, Garnett will probably still be an All-Star (tall athletic players tend to age very well) but Pierce and Allen may not quite be stars.
I was also really surprised to see Garnett take such a long extension, essentially guaranteeing a five year stay in Boston. This basically means Garnett’s last shot at a title in his prime will be with the case we mentioned above. If money wasn’t a huge concern, KG could’ve taken a one or two year extension, which would give him the opportunity to at least pick the team for a last shot. Still, you gotta admire Garnett’s willingness to commit to Boston (even though the money was quite good).
7/31 Acquire Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected), a return of Minnesota’s conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak and cash considerations from Boston for Kevin Garnett
If you’re a T-Wolf fan what can you say? You got pretty good value for your player but this has to be a bitter pill. When’s the last time a player this good has been traded in his prime? It doesn’t happen to often. It happens on occasion. Shaq, Kareem, Barkley, McGrady, all were traded but they all wanted out for one reason or another. But when was the last time a team trades a star this good who doesn’t really want to be traded? There are only a few…Oscar Robertson to the Bucks in 1970, Chris Webber to the Kings in 1998, and Jason Kidd to the Nets in 2000. It’s quite a rare list. As for the Wolves, morale is sure to be low but they had to make a trade because they were truly at an impasse as a franchise. Of course, the inane contracts they doled out the last few years helped make the situation so static and unfixable.
Now, the Wolves may as well go whole hog and try to dump guys like Ricky Davis, who has some value. Aside from Davis, the only other players with value are the young guys like Jefferson, Green, Randy Foye, and Corey Brewer and, of course, the draft picks. So, how can they clear the myriad of truly terrible contracts? I suspect that one of Green, Foye, or Brewer will have to go at some point. One of them might have enough prospective value to justify a team taking on a Mark Blount or a Trenton Hassell.
As an aside, the absolute worse contract on the team now is Marko Jaric, who is getting about $7 million through 2010-11(!). You know, Kevin McHale was once a very competent GM but the bad contract/extensions the last few years have been predictably atrocious. In addition to Jaric’s deal, Blount, Troy Hudson, Hassell, and Mark Madsen are all signed through 2010. It’s an object lesson in not over committing to role players. Perhaps, Fred Hoiberg will be able to turn this all around in a few years. For right now, however, the Wolves next meaningful moment will come in the 2008 draft.