The NBA may be on the verge of stealing baseball's thunder on the cusp of the latter sport's trade deadline. It's a familiar song, Kevin Garnett to the Celtics, but that doesn't make it any less of a blockbuster.
The rumors started late yesterday that a deal was back on the table and they've only gotten louder over the last 12 hours. It seems that the draft day acquisition of Ray Allen made Garnett willing to reconsider a move to Boston and if contract issues can be sorted out the deal looks like it will happen. Garnett can opt out of his deal after next season but the Boston Herald reports that the forward will instead extend his deal with Boston. They are reporting that the T-Wolves will receive Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a first-round pick in return. The Boston Globe, however, is reporting that the package will include two first-rounders and that the contract snags still need to be worked out.
It looks like a good deal for Minnesota. Jefferson, Randy Foye and Corey Brewer are all good, young players who should mesh well in the starting lineup while Green and Gomes will join Craig Smith to form an effective second unit. They still have Ricky Davis to carry some of the scoring load and those extra first-round picks would goose the rebuilding effort by adding players of youth or, through trade, experience. The trade will also allow the franchise to look forward after so many years of rumors about K.G. and little positive movement.
As for the Celtics, it's go for broke time. That's not a bad strategy in the Eastern Conference but the contracts of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce will have them hard against the cap for the next few years without much experienced depth to help them in their quest for glory. Rajon Rondo showed signs of being a good point guard and the rookies Gabe Pruitt and Glen Davis have their charms but 2008-09 will be all about their big three.
For the NBA this deal would be a big winner. It would take some attention off of Tim Donaghy and put it back on the positive things about the league, namely its great players and the possible return to contention of one of its landmark teams. It would be a temporary salve but one that would remind everyone that the NBA will go on regardless of the ref scandal. That couldn't come too soon for David Stern and his reeling league.