COMMENTARY | By now, just about every Boston Celtics fan has heard about the potential blockbuster reported by ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith on Monday, May 6.
For those living under a proverbial rock, Smith claimed "NBA circles" have discussed the prospect of Boston trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler.
Like Celtics sideline reporter Greg Dickerson's sources, you may find the story "absurd." And like president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, you're probably laughing it off. It's about as unlikely as Michael Jordan un-retiring a third time, suiting up in the Charlotte Bobcats' backcourt.
But it's not absurd for the reasons many Celtics fans might think.
It's absurd because the Clippers would never pull the trigger on such a trade. This is much different than the heavily rumored 2013 trade deadline deal, which involved Garnett, Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan.
Think about it: Pierce turns 36 by next season, and Garnett is 37 this month. Pierce struggled with neck and elbow injuries throughout the second half of 2012-13, and he experienced a truly painful postseason (4-18 shooting, 1-9 from 3 and five turnovers in an elimination game!?). Garnett, meanwhile, may undergo offseason ankle surgery.
Compounding these issues, Garnett has a no-trade clause and has stated he "bleeds green" and wants to retire a Celtic.
Ainge may wish to deal his fading stars' $28 million of combined salaries and 29 years of combined NBA service. But he won't net a 25-year-old powerhouse like Griffin and a 23-year-old athletic guard like Bledsoe.
Smith remains as ridiculous as Jay Pharoah's impressions. However, the concept of Pierce, Garnett and Rivers departing Boston should still be regarded as a distinct possibility.
Ainge will likely buy Pierce out for $5 million, saving the organization $10 million of the $15.33 million he would have earned in green next year. Garnett would then probably pack his bags and hit the old dusty trail known as retirement, or approve a trade in disgust.
Then there's Rivers, who the Brooklyn Nets have reportedly sought for their open head coaching position. When asked about his future after the Game 6 loss to the New York Knicks, the nine-year Celtic said he's given a return to Boston "zero thought." Cedric Maxwell, the team's color analyst, seems to think he'll be gone -- and not just until November.
Get your popcorn ready, folks. It could be a wild summer. Hopefully, you like actions better than classics, because the KG era seems just about over.
Sloan Piva lives in southern New England and has been covering the Celtics since February 2013. His freelance work has been published in multiple magazines and websites locally and nationally. Catch him on Twitter @SloanPiva.
- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Celtics
- Kevin Garnett
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Paul Pierce
- Eric Bledsoe
- Danny Ainge
- Blake Griffin
- Doc Rivers