This is not a complicated situation, really, which makes it rare in the world of NBA transactions — or in this case, non-transactions. As several reports noted last summer, Garnett secured his no-trade clause while taking a sizable pay cut, keeping him among a small minority of respected stars who cannot be dealt without their approval. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki are believed to be the only other NBA players with official no-trade clauses in their contracts.
We remind you of this because, in the wake of season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger last week, almost every name on the Celtics’ roster has been tossed around in trade rumors. Paul Pierce addressed the murmurs at practice, reiterating his desire to retire in Boston, and a rumor about the Clippers trying to obtain Garnett made the rounds prior to tip-off on Sunday. With less than three weeks to go before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, such talk is to be expected.
Even if Garnett’s no-trade clause does not eliminate any and all chances he could be traded — he might not want to hang around if Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge somehow cleaned house — it does make a deal highly unlikely. A package that revolves around Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler probably is not going to get it done. For all the respect Garnett has for Pierce as the “original Celtic” of the current group, The Big Ticket has embodied the Celtics’ spirit over the last six years. It is tough to see Ainge going to Garnett, hat in hand, begging him to waive his no-trade clause so the Celtics can acquire an aging small forward and a defensive-minded combo guard whose skills are redundant to Avery Bradley‘s.
A trade involving Garnett is not impossible, since nothing is an impossibility when the deadline is looming. (Seriously, the Grizzlies managed to unload Rudy Gay‘s salary, which grows to more than $19 million in the 2014-15 season. In Garnett’s words, “Anything is possibllllllllllllle!”) Rest easy, though. A Garnett trade is more than a nuclear option. It’s a thermonuclear option, exercisable only if Garnett gets truly fed up with life in green. Until further notice, take any report claiming otherwise with a shamrock-sized grain of salt.