The Boston Celtics started the new fad of having stars take smaller salaries so that they can play together and win a title. They were the original “Big Three.” Joining Paul Pierce in Beantown were Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. We knew they could play, but the questions were how good could center Kendrick Perkins and young point guard Rajon Rondo be?
Oh how the times have changed.
Fast-forward five years and the big three is no more as Allen took his talents to South Beach this offseason. Instead, it’s Garnett and Pierce playing second fiddle to Rondo. I guess that transition worked out well for the young guard, eh?
The Celtics are getting older and after a miraculous run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, they knew this was their last season they could make some noise. Unfortunately for the Celtics (and NBA fans in general), their chances seemingly came to an end a little over a week ago when it was announced that Rondo tore his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season.
Almost instantly, the talk of breaking up the Celtics and start the re-building mode started. Of course, re-building must start with getting rid of Pierce and Garnett.
As many teams around the league were, the Nuggets were included in the talk of trading for Garnett. On 104.3 The Fan in Denver, the talk was trading Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick for the 36-year-old Garnett.
A few weeks ago, I said that the Nuggets should trade Mozgov to the Celtics for Leandro Barbosa, Fab Melo and a pick. With the injuries to Rondo and Jared Sullinger, Barbosa and Sullinger will more than likely stay in Boston for the remainder of the year.
Boston still has the interest in Mozgov however, and Chandler would be able to spell the elder Pierce (unless they trade him) and fill in for Jason Terry at the two-guard.
Subsequently, the Nuggets could insert Garnett right away into the starting lineup to take over for Kosta Koufos at center and spell Faried to allow JaVale McGee to continue to get his minutes from the bench.
While the trade works for both teams, is this really the trade to make? Giving up Mozgov is nothing, but Chandler and a first-round pick for a 36-year-old aging veteran is a risk. Garnett is a shell of his old self at 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 3o minutes per contest.
While I personally believe Garnett will retire at the end of the season, we saw just last night what a veteran leader can bring to the team. Ray Lewis’ skills have diminished slightly, but he was able to lead his team to a Super Bowl title.
Could Garnett do the same?
Could Garnett bring back memories of another famous Boston-Denver deal?
Ray Bourque was in the last years of his career with the Boston Bruins and never had the chance to lift the Stanley Cup. In 2000, the Avalanche traded for Bourque and the veteran leader instantly became a leader in the clubhouse. In 2001, Bourque’s last in the NHL, he finally was able to lift the Stanley Cup.
Would the story be incredible? Absolutely. Is it likely to happen? In my opinion, no.
While the Nuggets would welcome Garnett with open arms, the real need continues to be a three-point shooter as the Nuggets are in the bottom five in the league from behind the arc.
Garnett’s name will continue to circulate as the trade deadline approaches, but don’t expect Garnett to be wearing powder blue anytime soon.