Tag: Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Phil Jackson says Lakers and Timberwolves had “handshake agreement” on Kevin Garnett trade in 2007


When the Timberwolves traded Kevin Garnett to the Celtics in 2007, it changed the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics won the 2008 title immediately after acquiring Garnett and Ray Allen, and made the Finals again two years later. The Big Three of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce was the NBA’s defining superteam until LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up in Miami in 2010.

But Garnett was almost a Laker. According to Phil Jackson in a new oral history of Garnett’s career by Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck (which is worth reading in its entirety), the Lakers had a deal lined up for Garnett centered around Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, before Minnesota ultimately went with Boston’s package.

Here’s the account of the almost-trade from Jackson, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, and Garnett’s agent, Andy Miller:

The Lakers offered a package built around multi-skilled forward Lamar Odom and 19-year-old center Andrew Bynum, a promising second-year player who would eventually become an All-Star. Odom had a history of flaky behavior, however, and Bynum was unproven.

The Celtics’ package was built around another talented, but still-developing young center, Al Jefferson, along with several other young players and draft picks.

Phil Jackson: Dr. [Jerry] Buss came to me and said, “I have a handshake agreement with Taylor, that he’s going to come to L.A. But McHale hasn’t concurred yet.” So I said, “Well that’s a good excuse.” You always, as an owner, say, “I’ll do this, but …” So I kept that hope out there, that he was gonna be a part of the Laker organization.

Glen Taylor: Odom, I was a little afraid of. I thought Bynum was gonna be a star.

Andy Miller: I think that what McHale was looking for, on top of picks, was a core young piece, and he was infatuated with Al Jefferson at the time.

Glen Taylor: It became the Lakers, and it became Boston. And they both said, what does [Garnett] want to get paid? And I told them what he wants to get paid. I told them the kind of contract. And those two teams said they would do it.

The package from the Celtics that ended up netting Garnett involved Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and a future first-round pick. The Lakers’ package of Odom and Bynum probably had more short-term upside — Odom won Sixth Man of the Year in 2011 and Bynum was an All-Star the following year. But both have since flamed out of the league.

More than anything, this is a fascinating what-if, because Garnett going to the Lakers changes a lot of things. If the Celtics’ Big Three never happens, maybe the Cavs or Magic get another couple of Finals appearances. The Lakers wouldn’t have traded for Pau Gasol if they’d had Garnett, either, which means the Grizzlies wouldn’t have wound up with his brother Marc, and that franchise’s fortunes could have been vastly different. This just goes to show how one domino can have a lasting effect on the entire league.

Report: ‘Bank on’ Celtics trying to trade for DeMarcus Cousins

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the Celtics trying to trade for DeMarcus Cousins.

But this is a bit more definitive.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Will they open their war chest of future draft picks to try to pry DeMarcus Cousins away from the Sacramento via trade? The early word out there is: Bank on it.

The Celtics sure have a fetish for stars who accuse Boston’s current players of dirty play.

Cousins got ejected from a December game against the Celtics for throwing Marcus Smart to the floor, and the Kings center accused Smart of taking a cheap shot beforehand. More recently, of course, Kevin Love accused Kelly Olynyk of intentionally dislocating his shoulder.

That might hurt the Celtics’ chances of signing Love, who was once reportedly their top target – which leads to Cousins.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said he’d ideally like to trade his treasure trove of first-round picks – up to 10 over the next four years – for veterans. I doubt Ainge would do that at any cost, but that route sure worked well last time with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining Paul Pierce in Boston.

Cousins isn’t ready to win like Garnett and Allen were, but he’s extremely talented and productive. Of course, for that reason, the Kings probably aren’t in a rush to trade him – even if George Karl says nobody is untradeable.

If Sacramento is willing to deal the center, though, Boston could put together a nice package of picks. Unfortunately, the Celtics’ most valuable player – Isaiah Thomas – probably would neither intrigue the Kings nor fit well with Cousins in Boston.

There are plenty of hurdles to clear before Cousins winds up with the Celtics. The biggest, by far, is getting the Kings on board. But, for whatever it’s worth, it seems the Celtics already are.

How Billy Donovan differs from every other college-to-NBA coach in last 20 years


Billy Donovan is unlike any other coach making the college-to-NBA jump in the last 20 years.

The Thunder, who hired Donovan yesterday (and will pay him handsomely), certainly hope so. That’s because, aside from Brad Stevens, the rest have failed.

But Donovan has already proven his uniqueness – by getting himself hired by a good team.

Here are the 10 NCAA-to-NBA coaches in the last 20 years with their NBA team’s wins the season before their arrival (normalized to an 82-game schedule):


Tim Floyd took over the threepeating Bulls – minus Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Obviously, Floyd did not inherit a team that at all resembled what the chart indicates.

Stevens, the only other coach besides Floyd and Donovan to take over a winner, also didn’t have the players his predecessor did. Before hiring Stevens, the Celtics – who were barely a winning team at 41-40 – traded their two best players (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets).

Donovan, of course, isn’t getting a dismantled roster. Quite the opposite.

The Thunder’s 45-37 record masks their true ability. Many key players – most notably Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – missed significant time last season due to injury. If those three are healthy as expected, Donovan has a championship contender on his hands.

He also has a team unlike any of his college-to-pro peers.

Here are the three win-share leaders on each coach’s new NBA team. Because we don’t know how the 2015-16 Thunder will perform, I use the average for Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka the last three years.


Ibaka is running neck-and-neck with Kevin Martin for the third-best player in this group. Durant and Westbrook soar well above everyone else.

Of course, Donovan will be held to a higher standard because of his roster, but it’s often difficult to parse where the contributions of coaches end and players begin. It’s not Floyd’s fault he had to rely on Dickey Simpkins, Toni Kukoc and Kornel David. But it sure made it more likely the Bulls would fire him.

NBA coaches from college usually lose. NBA coaches with good players usually win.

It will be up to Donovan to show which of those factors is more important.