Garnett to Clips? Rumors heat up at break

All-Star game weekend is a hotbed for trade rumors. It is very rare that you have all of the NBA personnel at one place at one time, especially right before the NBA’s trade deadline. There are all types of reasons for trades. From financial to chemistry or maybe just that final championship piece, there are many reasons those teams at look for trades.

Let’s look at some of the biggest rumors coming out of the Houston All-Star weekend. For this article, I’ll focus only on the centerpieces of trades, but in real life, trades are very complex and difficult to make. This is mainly because the overall salaries from each team have to match closely and the collective bargaining rules governing trades and the salary-cap always complicate matters.

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe for Boston’s Kevin Garnett
This would be a blockbuster because the Clippers have had such a great run so far this year. The Celtics, although 8-1 without their star point guard Rajon Rondo who is lost for the season because of a torn ACL, may feel that they can’t make a deep playoff run without him.

The Clippers are becoming more confident that they can sign Chris Paul in the off-season and may be more willing to move Bledsoe.

Under the new CBA, the Clippers would be hard-pressed to have both Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe signed to big new contracts. Kevin Garnett would give them another veteran leader and defender and a scorer in the half court low post. But Bledsoe and Jordan are both young popular players, Jordan are Blake Griffin’s best friend, and the chemistry of the Clippers currently could not be better. Besides they are one of the NBA’s best teams already.

The Celtics would get two good young players and this would be a major step towards reloading for the future. It would be very difficult to trade Kevin Garnett, as they would have to get his permission. He is one of the few players in the NBA with a no trade clause. But he has a home in Malibu, is good friends with Chauncey Billups and may view this as a great chance to win a championship this year.

Conclusion: An unlikely trade but there is reasons for both sides.

Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani for Chicago’s Carlos Boozer
It is reported that this is Toronto’s deal to be made. It is intriguing for both teams.

Chicago would get under the luxury tax this year. If Derrick Rose does not return, they may feel they are out of championship contention. Bargnani is a younger big that can shoot and needs a change of scenery, but he is not a great defender and Tom Thibodaux is known for his great defensive mindset. Boozer is also playing some of the best basketball since his Utah days.

Toronto has played much better since they made the Rudy Gay trade. Boozer would give them some veteran presence and would certainly up their chances in the playoffs.

Conclusion: This trade is a consideration for both teams and would change the Eastern playoff landscape dramatically.

Lakers’ Dwight Howard for Celtics’ Rajon Rondo

There is a general rule in the NBA to not trade a big for a small, especially when the big is one of the best centers in the NBA. Both teams have denied such a deal and there would have to be a significant other pieces involved to make the salaries work but it may have legs for many reasons.

The Lakers experiment with the super team has not gone as planned. Injuries, age and chemistry has never let this team have a chance. Dwight Howard is a free agent at the end of the year and this presents problems for both teams in the deal. The Lakers may lose Howard at the end of the year anyway. Rondo is a point guard that relies on quickness and athleticism with a torn ACL. The Lakers would probably need to do something but with Gasol and Rondo hurt; it would absolutely take them out of playoff contention.

The Celtics, meanwhile, would be taking an extraordinary risk. Rondo is pretty much a known quantity and under contract. Howard still has a bad back and could walk at the end of the season. Danny Ainge would not make this deal without a real commitment from Howard’s camp to re-sign. It’s not like Dwight has never changed his mind either.

Conclusion: This deal is unlikely because it is too risky from both sides.

Atlanta’s Josh Smith for Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings
Here you have two players that want a maximum contract and are both unhappy they are not getting it from their team. Smith and Jennings are both excellent basketball players and talented enough for maximum contracts. Both teams are hesitant and this may mean a change of scenery for both these players.

Atlanta just unloaded Joe Johnson’s contract and is looking to clean up their salary-cap. Josh Smith has been a great player for them but giving him maximum dollars may not make sense for them at this point of their development. They are already paying Horford and still need a few other pieces to be competitive.

Milwaukee is a smaller market team and Brandon Jennings is looking for a larger market to show his talents. The Bucs already have Monta Ellis and two small scoring guards are not always the best mix. To make this deal they must want to pay Josh Smith because he could walk at the end of the season.

Conclusion: Trading two significant players that are unhappy for each other may seem like a good idea but sometimes it is just trading one problem for another. Although I think both teams are looking for a deal they may need to look elsewhere.

There are many other rumors flying around in Houston this weekend. Most have no validity but where there is smoke there is always a little bit of fire.

Note on Trades
Rumors are always fun to talk about. They provide for endless discussion among media types and fans alike. They also happen with regularity and are part of the business of the NBA. It is sometimes forgotten that there are real people involved. Players have families and homes. Players are very sensitive to trade rumors and nobody likes seeing their name in trade talks. I was traded twice during my career and it hurt both times. Many players play very poorly up until the trade deadline knowing that they could be traded at any moment.

So although it is fun to talk about trades, remember you are talking about real people.