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We Reminisce / Jul 31, 2014 / 2:45 pm

We Reminisce: On This Day In 2007, The Celtics Traded For Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo

Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo (Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Seven years ago today, the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to trade Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics. It ended a disappointing era in Minnesota, and reignited Garnett’s career and revived the Celtics franchise.

In 12 seasons with the ‘Wolves, Garnett made it out of the first round of the playoffs just once – during the 2003-04 season, when the team reached the Western Conference Finals. KG was 30 years-old at the end of the 2006-07 season, and time was running out for him to win a championship. It was definitely not his fault. In his last season with the ‘Wolves, Garnett averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. He played 39.4 minutes per game and shot 47.6 percent from the field.

During the summer of 2007, the Celtics were coming off a 24-win season and had missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons. They hadn’t won a championship since 1985-1986. On draft night, the Celtics acquired Ray Allen from the Seattle Supersonics. A month later, they acquired Garnett. In exchange for the former MVP, the Celtics sent the following to Minnesota: Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff and two draft picks.

With Garnett and Allen, plus Paul Pierce, the Celtics vaulted to the top of the Eastern Conference. In their first season together, the Celtics won 66 games and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the NBA Finals. In the Game 6 clincher, Garnett scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He also gave us this iconic moment immediately afterwards:

In the following season, Garnett missed the entire post-season with a knee injury. The Celtics lost in the second round. They would return to the Finals the following season, but lost a re-match to the Lakers in seven games. Last off-season, Garnett and Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

Even though he only won one title in Boston, the trade drastically altered the career of not just Garnett, but Pierce and Allen, too. Before they teamed for the Celtics, they were all superstars in their own right, but were constantly nagged by the fact they’d never won a title. By accomplishing that goal together, it pushed their careers and historical standing into a different sphere.

For the ‘Wolves, the centerpiece of the trade was Jefferson. He didn’t disappoint. In his first season with the ‘Wolves, Jefferson started all 82 games and averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. But he couldn’t shoulder the load Garnett did for so many years; the ‘Wolves were terrible. In Jefferson’s three seasons in Minnesota, the team won a combined 61 regular season, five fewer victories than KG’s debut season in Boston..

With Kevin Love emerging as the team’s next franchise cornerstone, Minnesota traded Jefferson to the Utah Jazz after the 2009-10 season. In the seven seasons since trading Garnett, the ‘Wolves haven’t returned to the playoffs and appear on the verge of trading their franchise player once again.

In Boston, the trade revived a franchise. In Minnesota, they’re still recovering and waiting for another era of success.

What do you think?

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  • Onaje

    A story where it is more a criticism (or should be) of how inept NBA front offices are…these aren’t guys making good Basketball decisions and hoping for some luck…They are making bad decisions in hope to be called a genius when a miracle happens…but miracles don’t happen for durations…they are just moments.

    The real tight pathways to get in the NBA circles and rise to the Front office is hard to do for guys that are really basketball guys…most of these front office guys are business guys that think they know the game, but really they just know the right people. David Khan is a poster child of recent hires and inevitable fires that was just “Around” the game not of the game…

  • Nischal Limbu

    agreed

  • 2cents

    On point Onaje. And lets add Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars to the mix. They got fluked it once in their careers and it made them look like geniuses, but over a sustained period of time, they cannot compare to the RC Buford’s of the League.

  • Onaje

    I agree in part…The one thing I will say about Dumars is that he was one of the best at collecting pieces and not players or promotional tools. He did catch lightning in a bottle with those Detroit team runs and Championship, but his picks were sensible at least…I just remember listening to David Khan’s interviews and he just didn’t seem to have a clue…just very confident in his ignorance…There are a number of smug guys with titles that have quite failures over and over again, but keep their position and stay out of the media because of their relationships.

    RC is the best of all right now…Eventually especially if LA finds a way to be competitive again Mitch Kupchak will have to get his due as well…

  • 2cents

    Agreed, also only in part. Kupchak has the benefit of working the front office of one of the most recognisable brands in the whole world. If it wasn’t for Kobe’s ego, players would be flocking to LA. Which to me makes RC’s record all the more impressive.

    100% back the Kahn statement though. I hope owners now look at the jobs the front office at OKC and Orlando are doing now and realise they need young analytic minds to make decisions, not show ponies.