Rumors are swirling about Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett potentially being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and two first-round picks. The move would catapult Jordan as a go-to-guy in the Celtics' offense as he would immediately assume the role of the team's starting center.
Jordan hasn't been able to live up to the pressure of his lucrative contract to date. Many believe he was retained in L.A. due to his close relationship (at the time) with Blake Griffin. The script has been flipped out in "Tinsel Town," and Jordan no longer appears to be in the long-term plans of the Clippers even if the trade with the Celtics falls through. The Clippers have many talented offensive weapons on their roster, and Jordan just isn't someone they rely on.
However, if Jordan is moved to Boston he would have all the opportunity he has desired to prove he is more than a dunker and poor free-throw shooter. Boston would hope to be getting the rebounder and shot-blocker it has been missing for years with his arrival. In just 24.5 minutes per game last season, Jordan averaged 8.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Assuming he could stay out of foul trouble in Boston, he could potentially average a double-double and over two blocks with an increase in minutes closer to 36 or so per game.
The Celtics would likely become more of a transition-orientated team if this trade did occur, which clearly plays to Jordan's strengths. He scores primarily on offensive rebounds, lobs, and fastbreak opportunities. There is little doubt he would be a great target for Rajon Rondo if Boston elected to play at a faster pace.
Conversely, there would be a steep learning curve in the half-court offense, as Rondo is known for knocking people out with passes who aren't paying attention in traffic and Jordan hasn't shown the highest basketball I.Q. Despite his impressive size, he doesn't have much of a post presence offensively. He also lacks any recognizable form of a jumper, connecting on just 25 percent of his shots outside of the paint last season. The Celtics would go from having a player with a wide assortment of post moves and jumpers in Garnett to the very limited skill set of Jordan if the trade was completed.
Then there is the issue of Jordan's atrocious free-throw shooting percentage of just 38 percent. Boston has traditionally played a lot of close games in recent years. The Celtics could ill-afford to have Jordan out there clanging free throws off the rim when it is crunch time. Somehow Jordan would have to gain a more respectable touch from the line, or he would find himself benched in the closing minutes of games like he has been in L.A.
Still with all the doom and gloom, Jordan is a terrific athlete with potential. The old cliche of "You can't teach size or athleticism" applies perfectly to the 6-foot-11 inch center. While the move would signify the end of a spirited Boston era that fell somewhat short of expectations, it would hopefully ignite the career of Jordan.
That tradeoff might not seem fair to Boston fans, but it might be the best they can get under the circumstances.
Warren Shaw is a NBA contributor to Dime Magazine and Co-host of the weekly basketball podcast "The Baseline". He has covered various NBA events live while also conducting one-on-one player interviews. His work can also be found at Celticslife.com and Prosportsblogging.com.
Follow him on Twitter @shawsports.
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