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Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: If Celtics wanted Kevin Garnett to waive no-trade clause, ‘they would have just traded Paul Pierce out from under him’

Posted By Annie Maroon On February 22, 2013 @ 2:33 pm In General | 1 Comment

Adrian Wojnarowski [3]

Adrian Wojnarowski

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about what the Celtics did at the trade deadline and whether or not they missed an opportunity to trade Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett and get something of value in return.

“I don’t know what opportunity really was there,” Wojnarowski said of potential Pierce and Garnett trades. “You could trade them and you could get something for them, but I think the deal Boston really would have liked to have done was with the Clippers. To get Eric Bledsoe, 22-year-old point guard, and DeAndre Jordan, who’s a 23-year-old center who’s developing. That’s a deal I believe Boston would have went to ownership with and said, ‘We’d like to do this, let’s see if we can get KG to lift his no-trade clause.’

“The Clippers coaching staff wanted to do it, and a lot of executives and coaches among the elite in the Western Conference, and some of the elite in the East, they were terrified of KG going to the Clippers. They thought that made the Clippers the team to beat out there. But ownership was reluctant to this deal, and … they never agreed in principle to that package. I think that’s one [Boston] may have pulled the trigger on.”

Reports of another proposed Celtics deal, which would have sent Pierce to Brooklyn for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets’ first-round draft pick,  also surfaced. That didn’t happen, and Wojnarowski said he doesn’t think it was urgent for the Celtics to make a deal like that.

“I think that Boston can revisit it in deals around draft time,” he said. “Brooklyn’s draft pick is not going to have a great value. They’re a playoff team, you’re getting a pick that’s not going to be really high, in a pretty bad draft. And you’ve got to try and get one good player back. Humphries and Brooks, you’re not really getting either. Humphries is fine, he has a purpose, but not if you’re trying to get younger and rebuild. I have no problem with the Celtics not doing that Brooklyn deal.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page [4]. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics [5].

On getting Jordan Crawford for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins: “In Washington, they are going with the future in Bradley Beal. He’s much more of an all-around player than Crawford. [Crawford] can come off the bench and put points up. This guy has averaged 15, 16 points when he’s gotten minutes. He’ll help them as they’re trying to make the playoffs. He’s not a starter in the league. He’s a guy who’s a specialist. He’s a guy who’ll come in and score with the ball and handle it a little bit, and that’s all the Celtics need.”

On when the potential trade of the Hawks’ Josh Smith fell apart: “I was talking to the guys in Milwaukee and Orlando, and they had been talking about that three-way deal with Orlando, Milwaukee and Atlanta, and finally it was 10 minutes to 3 — it was 2:52 p.m., and Atlanta had pulled out and said, ‘Forget it, we’re not doing this.’ And that’s when Milwaukee and Orlando did the two-way deal for [J.J.] Redick. Atlanta took it down to the wire, rejected the last offer Milwaukee made, and Milwaukee said, ‘We’re not giving you any more for Smith.’ ”

On the Celtics regretting Garnett’s no-trade clause: “I don’t know how hard KG pushed for that no-trade in his contract. Obviously organizations don’t like to give it out … but once they gave it to him, they knew it was going to be difficult. I do think this, though: If Boston had wanted KG to waive that, they would have just traded Paul Pierce out from under him. If they sent Paul off to Brooklyn or anywhere else, KG may have looked at not waiving that thing very differently.

“I don’t think they ever had the agreement. From everything I heard out there, [Clippers] management just didn’t want to do it and Chris Paul did not push hard enough. Chris Paul can get anything done he wants there. He is running that organization right now, and rightfully so. They can’t lose him. He’s going to be a free agent. Chris was not pushing really, really hard for it, because if he did, he would have made management have to reconsider how they felt about it.”

On the Clippers being reluctant to trade young players for Garnett: “You’ve got a front office organization that sees a window here. They could be very good for a considerable amount of time here with Paul, Blake Griffin in his early 20s, and feel like they’re good enough to compete this year. I understand why Vinny Del Negro wanted [Garnett]. He’s a coach in the last year of his deal, and that could put them over the top in the short term. I think the front office was looking at the longer view. But if you’re the Clippers and you have a chance to finally go for it, you can say hey, we have a few more years of Chris Paul — he’s had some injuries. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Bledsoe’s a guy they’re going to have to trade eventually anyway because they can’t pay him what he’s going to be able to command once Chris Paul signs. So we’re just talking about DeAndre Jordan.

“Kevin Garnett, the feeling was, out there and around the league, he would have spread the floor, he would have cleared out the lane for Griffin, he kind of would have played that stretch-4 power forward position. And a guy who’s won, who steps in. Listen, nobody in San Antonio, nobody in Miami, nobody in Oklahoma City wanted to see that deal happen.”

On what’s best for the Celtics regarding Pierce and Garnett: “The longer you hold on to them the less value they have. You can still get something for them, but as they get older, they have less value. And I think the days of being able to trade aging veterans for first-round picks, for really good young players, are mostly over.

“Especially with this new collective bargaining agreement, you don’t see teams trading for first-round picks. They’re getting into that in-between place now where they’re not really competing for an Eastern Conference championship anymore but they’re not bad enough that they’re going to get good picks. You can get stuck in that middle, and I think that’s what Boston ultimately wants to avoid, because when you get stuck in that middle place, you never get out of it.”


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