NBA trade rumors: Have the Clippers backed out of Garnett talks?

Harry How

The latest rumors have the Clippers cooling on the idea of giving up Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! the talks between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics concerning a potential trade involving Kevin Garnett have cooled for the moment, and Woj's sources say it is the Clippers who have backed off.

According to the sources, the Celtics are very interested in the deal if it nets them Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, but it seems as if the Clippers may have decided that the price is too high. Other potential barriers to the deal such as Garnett's no trade clause are not insurmountable in this version of events.

Is any of this true? Who knows? I tend to think that the Clippers would be better this season going through with this trade, but the Clippers also happen to be in the position to be competing for a title both now and later. This is not a team looking for one piece to get them over the top for one last run at a title before their window closes. All indications are that Chris Paul will resign with the Clippers next summer and when he does he and Blake Griffin are going to have synchronized five year contracts, so that's the window -- this season and five more. Garnett is 36 and has been playing NBA basketball since Bill Clinton was in his first term. Pushing for a trade that limits the team next season and beyond may not be the right call, even if it might improve the team in the short term.

And that's the real crux of the question. As well as Chauncey Billups played in the last few games before the All Star break, it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that we've only barely seen how good this Clippers team can be -- the Clippers may actually be even better than the team that won 17 straight games back in December. Which means there's a real chance to compete with the current group; and if that's the case, then trading two guys under 25 for a 36 year old is not such a great idea.

Almost nothing is written about the Clippers these days without considering where Paul fits in, and Woj's sources seem to think that the Garnett talks will be reopened by the Clippers only if Paul pushes for the deal. Paul's influence within the organization may be a bit exaggerated -- but certainly he's important, and certainly they want to keep him happy.

Or this could all be a negotiating ploy by the Clippers. With another 37 hours or so to go before the deadline, why not let the Celtics sweat a little, especially if they're so eager to get the Bledsoe/Jordan deal done?

Stay tuned.

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