Less than 24 hours after the rumor first randomly appeared on Celtics Blog, Kevin Garnett is all set to become a Boston Celtic. The current deal, which may or may not be the final deal in the end, will send Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, and two first-round draft picks to Minnesota, according to ESPN.
Let's put aside what this means for both teams involved for a second. With Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen all on the same team, it's obvious Boston is going to be a threat in the Eastern Conference, and with all the pieces Minnesota received, it's obvious they're rebuilding. Beyond that, we can, and certainly will debate where exactly Boston stands in the East, or whether Minnesota got a good package in return, but the far bigger question, as far as I'm concerned, is what this means for the Wizards. Now that Boston has emerged as a threat, how does that effect our efforts to improve on a season that ended terribly, using the limited assets we have?
One thing's for sure, though. Considering that Boston traded basically all the young prospects they had been stockpiling for the last two years just to get KG, there's no way the Wizards could have put anything together to bring KG to DC. I know pretty much everyone here realizes that, but the sheer volume of the package Minnesota received certainly reaffirms that point. There's no reason to call out Wizards management for not trying to make a move for KG. They simply didn't have the pieces, and it's foolish to chastise Ernie for not having them when he never had KG on his radar.
But while it's a needless discussion, I do understand the emotional reaction to Ernie's lack of a big splash. Here are teams like Boston, Charlotte, New York, and Orlando -- all teams that finished behind the Wizards -- making big splashes, and the Wizards have mostly stood pat, save for a couple new draft picks. Even Toronto and Chicago picked up decent players in Jason Kapono and Joe Smith. Us? Well, we re-signed DeShawn Stevenson, drafted Nick Young and Dominic McGuire, and brought O-Pec over. We still haven't done anything to improve the defense, and if the season began today, we would still have the disastrous Thomas/Haywood tandem in the middle. So yeah, I can understand where that's a bit disconcerting.
But it's not a discussion worth having. Below the jump, a few random bullet point thoughts on what this means for the Wizards.
- The one theme that stood out to me about this trade was the suddenness of it all. If something that big can happen in the span of less than 24 hours, then surely there's still an excellent chance of a team agreeing to a more beneficial Juan Carlos Navarro package. A JCN trade would be far simpler, and while many teams are under pressure to trade for the guy, they aren't going to slow down because of the incredible ramifications.
- Boston has to be in the mix for JCN now, don't they? How could Boston enter the season with that shallow of a bench and only Rajon Rondo at the point? I'm not sure what package would help the Wizards -- maybe a Perkins/Tony Allen for JCN/Haywood/second-rounder or something like that -- but that may directly add another suitor for JCN.
- Even if Boston doesn't join the JCN trade, they indirectly drive up his market value, because they now desperately need another point guard. There are the same number of players out there(summed up nicely by Clips Nation), but there's one additional suitor. I can certainly see a scenario where Boston signs Knight and the Clippers or Memphis or someone panics and gives up too much just to fill their point guard void.
- On a more pessimistic note, could this potentially add another suitor to the Andray Blatche derby? I bet Danny Ainge prefers a veteran, but with a terrible lack of depth up front, maybe he'd take a flier on Blatche. I doubt it, but you might have the same effect on Blatche's market value as you do on JCN's, albeit in the opposite direction.
- Interestingly enough, it almost seems like the Wizards are designed perfectly to beat Boston, even though they'll definitely finish with fewer wins. I see the Celtics being very strong with their interior defense, but weak on their perimeter D (save for Rondo). I don't see how Allen and Pierce can stop all of the Wizards' strong wing players, particularly Arenas and Butler. Even if you put Rondo on Arenas, that leaves Butler to roam free.
- Could Ernie be kicking himself for not trying harder to entertain offers for Antawn Jamison? Were they even there in the first place? Is trading Jamison the only answer to solving our defensive woes if JCN doesn't yield a good return? Who would even want Jamison? These are all questions that might need to be answered in the coming months.
- What happens with AD now? I know he's old and has a bad contract, but surely he's more attractive to teams that need a point guard than Rafer Alston or Brevin Knight. Could Ernie get something in return for AD without having to trade JCN? If so, that would be a huge slam dunk. I love watching AD play, and he's still a good player, but if he has to go to improve the team's defense, then so be it. He's never been a great fit here -- point guards that need the ball in their hands and can't shoot don't fit in well with Gilbert Arenas.
- Most importantly, can Ernie honestly say this team, as currently constructed, is a real contender? The answer itself isn't all that important -- any answer to that question is pure speculation. What's more important is what Ernie thinks, and whether it means he'll have the fortitude to make a big move. Should he make a big move? I'd say that he shouldn't just because Boston did, but I think he should be calling some GMs to see what options he has. Completely standing pat would be a bad idea.
- Boston now indicated that they have no problem going over the tax. Will Abe do the same thing, only on a smaller scale? Obviously, knowing Abe, he's not going to agree to an all-out spending spree. But will he now be less stingy about a few dollars here and there? Will he give Ernie a little bit more breathing room to get everything in place? It's possible he rethinks his position in light of the Boston situation, but probably unlikely.
Overall, I trust Ernie enough that he won't do anything stupid, but I can't see this deal as anything better than a neutral for the Wizards. It may increase the market for JCN, and it may potentially lead to a solid AD deal, but it also adds another contender to the mix, and it increases the chances of a desperation move. That's why this week remains incredibly important for the Wizards future. If this doesn't help to yield a solid return for JCN, then it will end up as a major negative. Ernie better hope that Boston tries to shore up their point guard position soon, because that's the only way this turns into a positive.