The Boston Celtics reached a proverbial crossroad when they lost Rajon Rondo to a torn ACL for the rest of the season (and beyond?). Given what his playmaking abilities meant to this team, there are few things that the Celtics wouldn’t consider doing to instill some sort of change.
Dealing Garnett is one of those things.
Per Ric Bucher of NBC Sports, it’s less than unlikely that Boston even considers trading the veteran big man:
I keep being asked about deals involving Kevin Garnett going somewhere. Hard to imagine that happening if the
general view among GMs mirrors the feeling that two I spoke with have: no chance KG plays the remaining two years of his contract and no chance, with him making $11.5 million and $12 million the next two years and the super luxury tax looming. Keep in mind, this is being said of the ultimate competitor and conditioning fiend. The execs have the ultimate respect for KG, they simply believe, no matter how he works, he can’t squeeze another two seasons out of his legs and won’t want to hang around just to hang around. I find it hard to imagine KG not taking, and finding, whatever means necessary to stay on the court for as long as he possibly can, but his athleticism and mobility have fallen off precipitously this season. No matter how much KG has been paid — and, I’ve been told, he’s earned more than any player ever in total salary — no one has ever questioned whether he was worth every penny. KG made it so. Could he stand, for the first time, the view being otherwise?
I’m going to be honest, Bucher misses the mark here. Or rather, his sources do.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Celtics have no intention of trading Garnett, but that has less to do with his salary than it does his no-trade clause and general importance to this team.
Garnett is one of only four NBA players (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki) to have a no-trade clause in his contract. That means he would have to approve any trade the Celtics agree to. Given how fiercely loyal Garnett is, I couldn’t conceive him approving a deal that takes him out of Boston. Perhaps if he were dealt to a contender, but even then, it would be tough to imagine him giving consent.
From there, if Garnett declines a trade or even simply gets wind of the fact he’s on the chopping block, what do you think that will do to the dynamic of the locker room? Ray Allen was nearly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies last season and the metaphorical cut was so deep he underperformed in the playoffs and spurned the Celtics for the Miami Heat over the summer. Garnett would take his availability just as personal.
More importantly, though, Boston isn’t going to deal Garnett because of how important he is to its cause, especially with Rondo out. His 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and one block a night may not seem like much, but understand the Celtics are allowing opponents to score 8.2 points per 100 possessions fewer when he’s on the floor. He remains the heart and soul of the defense, on a team that defines it self with defense. Why would the Celtics give that up? Especially now?
They wouldn’t. Paul Pierce and everyone else on the roster, save for Rondo, isn’t untouchable. But Garnett is.
Partly because of his salary and somewhat because he has a no-trade clause. But mostly, he’s untouchable because he embodies everything this Celtics team wants to stand for.
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.