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Report: If Kevin Garnett wanted to join the Clippers, Chris Paul would have made it happen

Feb 22, 2013, 4:41 PM EST

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics Getty Images

We know Kevin Garnett is intensely loyal, but Chris Paul and the Clippers certainly put that to the test at the deadline.

Garnett’s situation was unique of other stars that didn’t get dealt at the deadline, mainly because of his no-trade clause. If he wanted to remain a Celtic, that was his prerogative.

Despite what he said in the media about his love for the Celtics, and how he had no interest in waiving his no-trade clause unless Paul Pierce got dealt first, that didn’t stop Chris Paul from trying to lure him to the Clippers, apparently.

According to several accounts, though, talk between Ainge and the Clippers continued right up until the final hours yesterday. Garnett said during All-Star weekend that he would not waive his no-trade clause, and held true to his vow despite added pressure from Clippers guard Chris Paul.

According to a league source, Paul called Garnett and said that if he was open to joining the Clippers, then Paul would make it happen. Garnett, though, declined, expressing a desire to remain a Celtic.

Ainge’s wish list had been topped by the Clippers’ young duo of guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. The Clips, with an eye on trading part of the future for a deep playoff run now, focused their attention on Garnett.

But Garnett reportedly said no, to the relief of an entire Celtics locker room.

Via Mark Murphy | Boston Herald

This is what true franchise players do. They play the game off the court, too. They recruit. They plot. They swing their weight around to get things done.

No one has questioned Paul’s power with the Clippers. Wisely so, the Clippers have complied with all his wishes since he joined the team last year. They re-signed Chauncey Billups — a guy Paul adores — as their first act of business this offseason. They’ve brought in former Hornets employees Paul pined for at various levels of the organization.

Paul has that level of persuasion in part because he’s not committed to the team yet. While no one around the team expects Paul to leave in free agency this season, the threat is present until he signs an extension. That left Paul with some unique power at the deadline — if Garnett would have been amenable to it, he could have gone to the front office and said, “Go get Kevin Garnett, and I’ll sign my extension.” The Clippers front office would have little choice but to acquiesce to Paul’s desires. They know where their bread is buttered.

It’s an interesting lesson in NBA politics and seniority, if nothing else. You see the three levels of power.

Blake Griffin, who is signed with the Clippers long-term, probably wouldn’t have much influence had it come to that. DeAndre Jordan is his best friend and going “all-in” and sacrificing young talent probably wouldn’t be in his best future interests, but he wouldn’t have the power to stop it.

Chris Paul had the power, even if it was only implied and never spoken, to get what he wanted at the deadline.

But of course, Kevin Garnett, who paid his dues in Minnesota all those years, held the ultimate power of being able to decide where he wanted to play.

How different would things be if Garnett didn’t have that power? We’ll never know.

  1. zacksdad - Feb 22, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Not very smart move by Garnett. If he would have been traded, they probably would traded Pierce also. Would have helped Boston in the long run. And Garnett would have a better chance for a another ring or two with the Clippers. Also he would not be hated by Celtic fans going to the other LA team. They probably would have loved the Clippers finally taking it to the Lakers.

    As a Laker fan, I am glad. I do not want to see the Clippers with their horrible owner get rewarded some more by the infamous CP3 trade he gave to the Clippers. That trade gave the Clippers the start to being a top tiered team even though they are owned by Sterling.

    • money2long - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      kg wasn’t leaving unless pierce was already gone first. and the celtics were asking for two 1st round picks from the nets apparently. their asking price for pierce was very high and that’s why he is still a celtic. and the trickle down effect is kg remains a celtic as well.

  2. seahawks80 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    As a Celtic fan it really pains me to say this but I wish they would have traded Paul and Kevin and got some really good young talent and/or draft picks in return. They will both go down as two of my favorites but with the injuries this year and being another year older it is obvious that we can’t make a deep playoff run so in my opinion it is time to rebuild.

    • zacksdad - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      As a Laker fan it is win-win for me. The Clippers do not get over the hump this year or next. The Celtics do not get younger and eventually better.

      Thanks Kevin…

      • seahawks80 - Feb 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        And I hope the lakers sign Howard to a max contract….lol

  3. BigBeachBall - Feb 22, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Doesnt look like there is much “plotting” over in the kg/pierce camp anymore…looks like they are content with the ring they got 5 years ago.

  4. j0esixpack - Feb 22, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    As a Celtics fan, I wouldn’t have minded that trade with the Clippers.

    But I’m not going to fault Garnett for exercising a No Trade provision he worked hard for. I further get the sense that Garnett and Pierce aren’t quite ready to concede the season either.

    Heck, if their healthy coke the playoffs we’ve seen that these guys can get pretty hot.

  5. yousuxxors - Feb 22, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    bledsoe jordan brooks some picks probably had to take humpy for KG pierce would of been a nice haul for the future.

    • money2long - Feb 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      here’s players the celtics were looking for reportedly in a kg/pierce trade (without including assets like picks/money)

      kg: bledsoe and deandre jordan
      pierce : marshon brooks, kris humprhies

      that would be a quick transition from one last championship run to youth movement.

      imagine that lineup minus rondo for the season. i would imagine it to be (if those trades went down):

      pg: eric bledsoe/avery bradley
      sg:marshon brooks/courtney lee
      sf:jeff green
      pf:humphries/bass
      c:deandre jordan

      and they would still have rondo waiting. but would they hae traded rondo for a handful of picks, maybe if pierce and kg were gone. but nothing happened, and they are left to put major personnel changes on hold until the summer

  6. savvybynature - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Isn’t this the way Cleveland ran their franchise when Lebron was there?

    I’m not convinced that having your franchise player involved in personnel moves is really the best way to build your team. CP3 does have the power of LA behind him though, unlike LBJ.

  7. yousuxxors - Feb 22, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    i think all lebron said was lets get better and they never did.

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