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NBA AM: Celtics’ Kevin Garnett In High Demand
Posted By Lang Greene On February 6, 2013 @ 9:28 am In All,NBA | No Comments
The NBA trade deadline is roughly two weeks away and as expected the rumor mill continues to rapidly produce daily content. The Boston Celtics have arguably been the franchise most linked to varying deals in this process. The season ending knee injury to All-Star guard Rajon Rondo has thrust the team into the rumor forefront and organizations around the league are calling the Celtics’ front office inquiring about its veteran talent.
The reasoning is simple.
While most trade talk this time of year is built on speculation or innuendo, the topic of the Celtics making a move for their future and trading forwards Paul Pierce or Garnett have firm legs to stand on.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hasn’t been bashful in stating he’d do everything in his power for the good of the franchise, even if it meant dealing away its star players. Ainge has always discussed, on record, his belief that the Celtics organization held on to aging core of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish into the late 80′s and early 90′s. Ainge’s belief is the hesitation to move aging talent directly led to the lengthy rebuilding process the Celtics endured until Pierce reached his prime. Last season Ainge attempted to trade current HEAT guard Ray Allen multiple times, which was one of the reasons Allen left money on the table to head for Miami in free agency.
Pierce had been linked to various deals over the course of the past month. Teams around the league were interested in Pierce’s partially guaranteed deal for the 2013-14 season which could be used to create cap space and financial flexibility.
But now, for the first time since his arrival to Boston, Garnett has risen to the top of the trade rumor cycle. The Celtics have publicly maintained they’re not going to make any rash personnel moves with Rondo being out of the lineup. The Celtics’ current four-game winning streak has alleviated some of the immediate pressure on making a deal but there is still a choice to be made in Boston – rebuild or reload?
The Los Angeles Clippers were rumored to have talks with Boston on Garnett in recent days but Celtics officials have dismissed those reports.
The Denver Nuggets are the latest team to get into the Garnett sweepstakes, according to a Denver Post report by Mark Kizla.
The Nuggets are currently enjoying a seven game winning streak and are just 2.5 games behind the third seeded Clippers in the Western Conference standings. But in a stars league, the Nuggets, one of the deepest teams in the game, lack star power at the top of the lineup.
Nuggets executive Masai Ujiri has interest in bringing in a talent such as Garnett, but according to the report Garnett’s representatives have informed the Nuggets that the All-Star doesn’t have the same feelings. Garnett has a no-trade clause in his deal.
Looking at this from the outside, the Nuggets are just the type of trade partner Ainge would need to start rebuilding for the future. The Nuggets have plenty of promising young talent on rookie scale deals, an assortment of productive seven footers and an expiring veteran contract.
For now, the Celtics seem intent on standing pat and gearing up for another playoff run. But we all know Ainge has his eyes on the organization’s future and it could just be a matter of time before he decides to move away from his future Hall of Fame core.
Kobe Bryant Putting The Pressure On Dwight Howard
The Los Angeles Lakers remain 3.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference as we approach the All-Star break. Their chances of securing a playoff berth could have taken a serious hit on Tuesday night with former all-Star Pau Gasol going down to a foot injury.
The Lakers, already playing without Dwight Howard (shoulder), are now extremely thin on the interior and Kobe Bryant says it may be time for Howard to get back on the court and play through some of the pain.
“He’s probably worried about the damage in his shoulder,” Bryant said according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “I don’t think he’s ever had to play through injuries in his career. I think it’s a new experience for him.
“When I was growing up, going through high school and middle school, unfortunately but fortunately I dealt with injuries. Not injuries that were debilitating but injuries you have to play through where you have to manage the pain. When you go through those things you learn your body and what you can push through. But Dwight has never been hurt. The [back injury last season] was debilitating and he couldn’t play. When you have an injury that hurts you but you can play through it that’s something you have to balance out and manage and he’s never really had to do that.”
Howard injured his shoulder back in January and has aggravated the injury twice since then. Howard is also a free agent and could command a deal in the five-year $118 million range.
Howard has missed the last three contests, all Lakers wins, against Minnesota, Detroit and Brooklyn. The severity of Gasol’s foot injury is unknown at the moment.
Randy Foye Finds Unlikely Home
Utah Jazz guard Randy Foye will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the seven year guard has went public saying he’d like to remain in Utah for the long term. Foye is having his best season as a pro since the 2009 campaign and attributes part of this to his comfort level in the state of Utah.
“To tell you the truth I do see myself long-term here,” Foye told Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Because everything from an organization, to the values they have here is me. And in the beginning I probably never would have thought it was Utah, probably thought I was a big-city guy. But this is me. I got my family here, my family really likes it here, even when my friends come out they really like it. We’re from the East Coast, and all you see is life moving so fast.
“Everything here is kind of slow and it’s just laid back and I see myself here. I love the guys here. I know the guys, we get along really well. I just picture myself being here for a while. I don’t really want to talk about contract things, but I just picture I would want to be here for a long time.”
Foye is averaging 11.9 points and 2.1 assists per game on 43 percent shooting from three-point territory in 49 contests this season.
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