The NBA trade deadline of 2013 may be remembered for the trades that didn’t happen.
The Boston Celtics ended up with guard Jordan Crawford in exchange for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins to the Washington Wizards. However, every top Boston star: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett, were reportedly on the block.
The one deal that many thought would be consummated first surfaced over All-Star weekend and would have sent Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers for point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. The hold-ups being Garnett’s no-trade clause, and L.A.’s hesitation to drain the depth that has made them contenders in the West.
But according to the Boston Herald, Celtics team president Danny Ainge was still in contact with the Clippers up until Thursday’s deadline, and L.A. superstar point guard Chris Paul called Garnett to tell him if he wanted to be a Clipper, Paul “would make it happen.”
However, Garnett reportedly told Paul he wanted to stay in Boston.
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That kind of loyalty was one of the reasons Garnett stayed with the floundering Minnesota Timberwolves for the majority of his career, but he may have passed up on a championship run in the process.
The No. 3 seed Clippers produce the No. 4 ranked defense, and the ninth best offense in the league. Garnett would have provided them an excellent and proven post defender, and rebounder, capable of battling the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder come playoff time. As evidenced by their blowout loss to the Spurs Thursday night, the Clippers could have used Garnett's services.
Currently the No. 7 seed, Boston is mired in the bottom tier of playoff teams in the East, and the fact that each of their All-Stars was on the trading block could have signaled the Celtics are strongly considering a rebuilding process. Adding a blossoming floor general like Bledsoe and an at-times dominant and athletic center like Jordan, were excellent starting points for a Boston reset.
Still, Garnett's advanced age, 36, has many suggesting he's playing year-to-year, even though he has two seasons and $24 million left on his contract. For now, the rest of the league will wonder what may have been.