No Rajon Rondo. No Jared Sullinger. A rapidly-aging core and a “win now” window that is closing faster by the second. A looming trade deadline and the building notion that common sense says to blow up the roster and start fresh. There is blood in the water surrounding the Boston Celtics, and other NBA GMs are circling, doing their best to pry the Green’s most valuable trading piece to a playoff-bound team – Kevin Garnett.
Along with the maybe-yes, maybe-no pursuit by the Los Angeles Clippers, the next team to emerge in pursuit of KG is the Denver Nuggets. The problem, for Denver at least, is that KG wants no parts.
As significant as the two years and $23.5 million remaining on his contract might be, they are not even the largest obstacles standing in the way of any Garnett trade. KG wields a no-trade clause and he is apparently not afraid to use it. The Denver Post reported yesterday that the Nuggets have approached the Celtics about a potential deal to acquire KG, but that Garnett killed it before it could get anywhere, letting it be known through his representatives that he has “no current interest in the Nuggets.”
While that clearly stings for Denver Nuggets fans, my question is, “Why does Denver want KG anyway?” Yes, clearly adding him to the mix makes them a better team, and he instantly becomes an effective force on their front line. But if even if Garnett appeared on their roster today, without them having to give up any talent, does he make them a legitimate championship contender? I don’t think so.
A KG deal is meant for a team that can potentially win a title (or a team that thinks they can win a title), and the Nuggets, while putting together a really nice season at 31-18, are not there yet. If the Clippers add Garnett, they strengthen their already-strong chances of making it to the NBA Finals. If the Nuggets add Garnett – at the expense of losing Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, or Kenneth Faried – does that make them better than San Antonio, Oklahoma City or the Clippers? Doubtful. Then they’re stuck with the end of KG with (at least) one less young athlete on the roster to build toward for the future.
While I applaud Denver for trying to make something happen, they have to be smart about it.
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