The Los Angeles Clippers may recognize this season as their best chance to capture their first NBA title, and are seeking some veteran championship experience.
The Clippers are reportedly discussing a deal that would send Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett to L.A. in exchange for point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski late Friday.
The report stipulates Garnett’s no-trade clause could shut the deal down, but his home in Malibu, relationship with Clipper point guard Chauncey Billups, and Boston waning near the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, could convince him.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard bucked the trade, saying Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro is in favor, while the front office is reticent.
Bledsoe has emerged as one of the best young point guards in the league, with current starter Chris Paul publicly stating his young counterpart is capable of running his own club. Now in his third year out of Kentucky, Bledsoe is averaging a career-high 9.6 points per game, while shooting nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc, and those numbers shot up when he filled in for the injured Paul earlier this season.
Jordan is also having a career year with 9.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and is one of the better shot blockers in the league, but his on the ball defense, especially in the post, does not equal the much older Garnett’s.
Further complicating the deal is Paul’s contract status. Yahoo!’s report suggested the Clippers are hesitant to move Bledsoe with Paul scheduled to be a free agent this summer. After this season, Bledsoe has one year and $2.6 million left on his rookie contract, and will then hit restricted agency in 2014.
Boston may see Bledsoe as insurance should point guard Rajon Rondo fail to fully recover from the torn anterior cruciate ligament then ended his season three weeks ago.
The Clippers are currently third in the Western Conference, four games behind San Antonio for the top spot, and sport the fourth ranked defense in the league. Adding Garnett would make L.A. a major contender come the playoff time, though the deal could weaken a bench many have labeled the best in the NBA.