Celtics, Clippers Discussing Kevin Garnett Trade

February 16 2013 at 4:47pm CST By Chuck Myron

4:47pm: Though he made comments indicating he would welcome Garnett to L.A., Chris Paul said he's not pushing the Clippers to make the deal, notes USA Today's Sam Amick.

4:22pm: Garnett has not ruled out accepting a trade to Los Angeles, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The Clippers, who began their efforts to land Garnett with the Bledsoe-Butler package more than two weeks ago, have always been willing to increase their price, Deveney writes.

3:42pm: Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe hears the teams have not discussed Garnett, and that the Clippers don't want to approach the luxury tax line (Twitter link). The Clippers are about $1MM shy of the $70.307MM tax threshold, but acquiring Garnett for Jordan and Bledsoe would save the team money. The other version of the deal, sending out Green, Turiaf and Butler, would likely make the Clippers a taxpayer.

2:51pm: Though Garnett has said he won't waive his no-trade clause under any circumstances, the Clippers are confident they can persuade him to come to L.A. if the Celtics tell him it's a deal they want to make, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

SATURDAY, 10:45am: Sean Deveney of the Sporting News tweets that the Clippers' primary incentive to do the trade is Del Negro's belief that Jordan isn't a championship-caliber center. He writes that the team discussed the possibility of trading for Anderson Varejao before the Cavs' big man's season-ending injury.

FRIDAY, 12:53am: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro would be willing to do the deal, but the team's front office is "totally against the move," according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Clippers executives would prefer to send out Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Caron Butler for Garnett (Twitter links). 

12:11am: The Celtics and Clippers have been in consistent contact about a trade that would send Kevin Garnett to L.A. for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, report Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Factions within both teams are debating whether the deal would be the best course of action. This appears to be the latest incarnation of a proposal that would have sent Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Boston for Garnett.

After that rumor surfaced a couple of weeks ago, we heard that Garnett would not waive his no-trade clause unless he was dealt to L.A., which is close to his home in Malibu, Calif., and also unless the Celtics also traded Paul Pierce. While no Pierce trade appears imminent, sources tell Wojnarowski and Spears that Garnett's close relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups could help coax him into accepting the swap. 

The Clippers have been reluctant to deal Bledsoe without knowing what Chris Paul will do in free agency this summer, but the team's front office is becoming increasingly confident Paul will re-sign, according to the Yahoo! report. Many within the organization believe Garnett would strengthen the team's title hopes, which explains the team's pursuit. It appears that the Clippers initiated talks of the earlier Garnett-Bledsoe-Butler proposal.

Wojnarowski and Spears point out that acquiring Bledsoe would allow the Celtics to deal away Rajon Rondo without getting a point guard in return, and earlier tonight a report surfaced about a potential Rondo/Dwight Howard swap. As I wrote then, it appears Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is aggressively pursuing his options as Thursday's trade deadline nears. Ainge has reportedly been looking for something to get "really, really excited about" in any deal for Garnett, and it's unclear whether Bledsoe and Jordan would be enough to satisfy that requirement.

From a salary perspective, the deal works out well for the Celtics. It would only add $674,432K to the team's salary, leaving about $2MM under Boston's $74.307MM hard cap, plenty of room to pursue another player to fill out the team's injury-depleted roster. Jordan's four-year, $43MM contract includes a 15% trade kicker, but because it was signed after the league's current CBA went into effect, the Clippers would have to absorb the extra money if they trade their center, and not the team that acquires him. 

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