Figures. As soon as I launched this NBA rumors update, another trade rumor breaks out, one expertly foreshadowed by my previous post. (Thank you, thank you very much).
From Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News regarding a possible Boston Celtics trade:
With the Big Three's window now shut, Ainge is trying to land Atlanta's Josh Smith and other young studs, while offering up Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can also be had, for young players and draft picks. Rajon Rondo might be leaving, too, with the Lakers and Utah seen as possible destinations.
A reminder, for those who don't like to click back links, what I said only this morning about such possible Hawks trades:
No other deals have popped up as yet, and as we discussed on the Bill Shanks show this week, unless the team free falls out of the playoffs altogether (very unlikely) there is almost no chance of a major deal, like a Josh Smith trade, coming down during this season as Rick Sund and Larry Drew hang on in the last year of their own contracts.
Cap relief sounds mighty good, especially for a team with so much committed to so few players as the Hawks, without really having a championship ceiling. But, consider than final though above again. Rick Sund has no long term guarantee that he will be here to see any kind of cap relief goodness for rebuilding. So why would this be an advantageous path.
Also, Smith only has one more year on an affordable deal -- if traded now, surely he would fetch more than an again, but still very effective Garnett, who requires a 5-5-5 plan to limit his minutes to maintain that effective through the course of games and the season.
Counterpoint would say that maybe Sund is fed up with Smith, who missed the All-Star game more for reputation than production. Maybe Sund watched as Smith launched jump shot after infamous jump shot on his way to a 5-20 night. Coupled with a Hawks loss, perhaps that forced a late night call to Danny Ainge's cell phone with a Smith breakup on his mind.
Also, there is much to like about adding an aspect to the franchise that has been absent almost as famously as a true point guard -- a leader. Garnett would provide instant credibility to a locker room and a floor product that surely needs the kind of tough, intense love Garnett would bring.
Case in point: It could be said that the most vocal on court leader in the last 12 or so seasons for the Hawks franchise played a single game for the Hawks. Rasheed Wallace was only along for one glorious game, but tried to bring a mentoring, coaching presence to a woebegone team -- and it made an impression on this Bird Watcher who has seen nothing of the sort in this current playoff iteration of the franchise.
My Verdict: Whereas you may have received a flat, Phhhbt! if it had suggested to me previously, I have successfully talked myself into this. Either way, the Hawks are a winner. If they keep Smith, they keep Atlanta's own and a player who is young, fairly compensated, desires badly to win, never talks trash on the court, loves being a Hawk and produces in an plus efficient manner.
If they deal him for Garnett, all of the above I wrote about Garnett would apply, and it would be interesting to see how it would work in the short term. After this season, the team would suffer without either Smith or Garnett, but as I mentioned above about Sund and Drew, that's a notion I need to come to grips with and get over.
Exit Question: Hawks fans, Celtics fans, Smoove fans, KG lovers -- what do you think -- and how long would it take you to act on this deal, one way or the other?