Re: Trade Deadline Day Thread!
posted at 2/21/2013 8:57 AM EST
Why Danny Ainge won't trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 7:53pm
Trading aging superstars isn't as easy as Dany Ainge once thought. (AP)
"There aren't a lot of teams that are trying to pursue players of KG and Paul's age, and I just think we value them more than other teams value them."
-- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, on Feb. 7
In a moment of candor two weeks ago, Ainge admitted Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are worth more to the Celtics than the Clippers, Hawks, Nets or anyone else, and on NBA trade deadline eve nothings changed.
Its not for lack of trying. Based on the number of rumors involving the Celtics, Ainge spent the past fortnight trying to find a trade partner for his aging superstars, only to discover what he already knew: Nobody wants Garnett or Pierce; not for Ainges asking price.
There are so many teams trying to get younger, so many teams trying to rebuild, so many teams trying to get high draft picks already, he said. Where we value them as players is just much greater than the rest of the league, which I think is common among players of their age
Just as he wouldve dealt Ray Allen for O.J. Mayo a year ago, theres no doubt in my mind Ainge would pull the trigger on deals that would land Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Garnett and/or Josh Smith for Pierce. As hard as it might be to trade the heart and soul and the face of the franchise, a haul of three potential All-Stars under 28 years old would force Ainges hand.
But why would the Clippers want a 36-year-old who continues to drop retirement hints despite the two years and $24.4 million left on his deal when a Bledsoe package sans Jordan could land young Jazz big Paul Millsap?
And why would the Hawks want a 35-year-old whos been playing through a pinched nerve in his neck and shooting 38 percent in 2013 when they could get somebody like Monta Ellis from the Bucks?
At those prices, the Clippers dont want Garnett, and the Hawks dont want Pierce. Those deals dont make the Clippers and Hawks better than the Thunder and Heat this year or next. Even if they did, L.A. would have to convince KG to waive his no-trade clause and the Hawks would have to find a third team for Pierces final destination. Ask Ainge how easy that is.
Likewise, you can forget about ridiculous offers like the Nets' package of Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick for Pierce. Ainge isn't dumb enough to trade one of the five greatest players in Celtics history for the most disliked player in professional basketball along with a guy he traded for JaJuan Johnson and a 2014 second-round pick.
Garnetts cultural influence and Pierces captainship mean more in the Celtics locker room than they do elsewhere, and that makes Ainges job easier. He doesnâÂÂt have to tear out the collective heart of his fan baseÂTemple of Doom style, doesnt have to do what he chastised Red Auerbach for never doing -- shipping a past-his-prime Celtics legend out of town.
My first choice is always to try to win now, especially when you have unique players like KG and Paul, Ainge told reporters in Denver, obviously more guarded as he approaches the deadline. Thats always the best option, but the injuries have at least allowed me to ponder other possibilities. Its still going to be tough to convince me thats what we need to do
When he landed Garnett in 2008, Ainge told KG hed always do whats best for his organization. By 3 p.m. on Thursday, that may mean trading the man who wrote the latest chapter of basketballs most storied franchise. Almost every February in between, Ainge placed Pierce on the market.
In all likelihood, Ainge wont trade Garnett, and he wont deal Pierce -- not because he doesnt have the guts, but because he has the brains to know nobodys likely to match the immense value Boston places on both.
Instead, Ainge will run with what hes got, Pierce and Garnett will provide sold out Garden crowds with a handful more of unforgettable moments, and the Celtics will squeeze every playoff win possible out of their old, tired legs. Not a bad alternative.