The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals in 2013.
At 34-15, L.A. is atop the Pacific Division and holds the third-best record in all of basketball. They own an 11.5-game lead on the Lakers and are in the midst of their best regular season in franchise history.
With a championship in their sights, the Clippers are reportedly interested in making a major move that will boost their chance of winning a title. According to the Sporting News, that could mean trading for Kevin Garnett.
The publication is reporting that the Clippers are interested in acquiring the Boston Celtics big man in a multi-player deal. The 36-year-old has played with Boston for the last six seasons, and is owed $23.5 million in the next two seasons.
The two teams recently met, as the Celtics defeated the Clippers 106-104 on Sunday. The Sporting News reported that officials from both teams engaged in discussions about a possible deal before the game.
A trade does not appear to be imminent, as there seems to be some division within the Clippers organization. While some think it would be a good move, others are apprehensive about adding Garnett’s salary to the payroll.
A potential trade would likely involve L.A. sending Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Boston. Bledsoe is averaging 9.6 points and 3.1 assists this season in just 21.2 minutes per game. With the injury to Chris Paul, however, he’s seen his numbers increase recently. The point guard has played at least 30 minutes in the Clippers last seven games, averaging 13 points and 5.7 assists per contest.
When Rajon Rondo was lost for the season with an ACL injury, many believed that the Celtics would begin to deal some of their veteran players. Despite the trade rumors, team president Danny Ainge has asserted that the Celtics aren’t ready to make any big moves, as of now.
Prior to Sunday’s game, head coach Doc Rivers claimed he hadn’t had any in-depth discussions about making a significant trade.
"We really haven't talked about [moves],” Rivers said. “Honestly. We obviously can because we need a body. But we really haven't talked about it much at all. Nothing really. What I think Danny [Ainge] is doing is probably doing all the work right now and I'm sure this week maybe, or who knows in two weeks, he'll come with a long list of scenarios."
The Celtics have played well since it was discovered that their starting point guard wouldn’t play for the rest of the season. They’ve won four straight, including games against the Clippers and Miami Heat.
In his 18th NBA season, Garnett is still one of the best big men in basketball. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 47 games. His performance has been good enough to earn him a starting spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
Adding Garnett would give the Clippers one of the best frontlines in the league. Blake Griffin is starting for the West in the All-Star Game, and center DeAndre Jordan is second in the NBA with a 60.3 field goal percentage.
If Boston decides to trade Garnett, it could also spell the end of Paul Pierce’s time with the Celtics. The veteran remains one of the best scorers in the East, and has a very reasonable contract next season that could be attractive to contending clubs.