According to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald, Paul reportedly reached out to Kevin Garnett and asked him if he would join the Los Angeles Clippers, making it clear he could make it happen:
According to several accounts, though, talk between Ainge and the Clippers continued right up until the final hours yesterday. Garnett said during All-Star weekend that he would not waive his no-trade clause, and held true to his vow despite added pressure from Clippers guard Chris Paul.
According to a league source, Paul called Garnett and said that if he was open to joining the Clippers, then Paul would make it happen. Garnett, though, declined, expressing a desire to remain a Celtic.
Ainge’s wish list had been topped by the Clippers’ young duo of guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. The Clips, with an eye on trading part of the future for a deep playoff run now, focused their attention on Garnett.
But Garnett reportedly said no, to the relief of an entire Celtics locker room.
This is one of those reports that seem far-fetched, yet you believe all the same. The Boston Celtics would have welcomed a package of DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe, and Garnett would have given the Clippers the two-way inside out big man that neither Blake Griffin nor Jordan is.
To some extent, Garnett’s refusal is surprising. His offseason home is in Malibu and he would have the chance to chase even more championships with the Clippers. Jordan Crawford’s addition will help salvage what’s left of Boston’s season, but he’s not going to shift the narrative of an aging and reeling franchise.
Playing alongside Chris Paul and on a team with tangible depth is something you’d expect would appeal to Garnett to. He’s been playing his behind off in Boston and now, with Jason Collins on his way to the Washington Wizards, the burden down low becomes an even heavier one for Garnett to bear.
On other levels, Garnett’s stance comes as no surprise. He forewent retirement and returned to the NBA specifically to play for Doc Rivers and the Celtics. His decision seemed to have more to do with loyalty than his desire to chase rings.
Had the Celtics found a new home for Paul Pierce, though, Garnett might be donning a different uniform. Without The Truth by his side, the reality of a rebuild would have set in. Garnett may be loyal, but at 36, he doesn’t want to be a part of a rebuild.
If Boston was truly motivated to pull this off then, they would have moved Pierce as well, so as to ensure Garnett wouldn’t exercise his right to veto any deal. That they didn’t may be considered a bad move by some. By not doing so, though, they assure no relationships within the organization had been fractured.
Say Danny Ainge went to Garnett with this deal (having not traded Pierce) and he declined. It wouldn’t have been all peaches and cream afterward. Garnett may have taken exception to the team’s desire to move him, finished out the season and then retired, leaving Boston with nothing. At least now (even if he retires), he and the Celtics can leave on good terms.
This would have been an intriguing deal to say the least, but it’s refreshing to know that it was handled so delicately by the Celtics. Having Paul (not that the Celtics asked him to) reach out to Garnett instead of Boston itself really helped preserve the rest of KG’s time in Beantown.
And if you must marvel at anything, admire (or envy) the control Paul has over the Clippers. He could have made “it happen,” if Garnett wanted to. Now that’s power.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.