Kevin Garnett says he won’t waive his no-trade clause

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Kevin Garnett has said that this is his last All-Star game. He’ll be turning 37 soon, and this will be his 15th All-Star game. He knows his way around this whole spectacle. It’s the same party every year for him.

As a gift for what might be his last appearance, Garnett fielded tons of questions from the media on Saturday regarding the rumored trade talk that would send him to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan.

While many think that Los Angeles might be the only place Garnett would accept a trade to because of his home in Malibu, Garnett was pretty firm on wanting to remain a Celtic on Saturday:

Asked on Saturday morning at All-Star weekend if there was a circumstance or team for which he would drop his no-trade clause, Garnett said, “No.”

Garnett then added, “Why would I come back and make the visits to rally this team to go further only to be set up to have change?”

“That’s what today’s going to be about it,” Garnett said. “This is what y’all want to talk about today? You want to talk about trades?

“I get it. I get it,” Garnett said. “It’s all good. If it’s up to me, I’m going to live and die green all day.”

But it is up to Garnett, since he has a no-trade clause.

“OK then, so what are we talking about?” Garnett said.

Via Jeff Zillgitt | USA Today Sports 

If you thought Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be vocal on his opinions regarding his future, you don’t know Kevin Garnett. He’s obviously an incredibly loyal guy, and it is completely up to him whether he gets moved. The Celtics can’t trade him without him signing off on the deal.

According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, Garnett has not been approached about a trade, either.

“Garnett said Celtics team president of basketball operations has not approached him recently to discuss any potential trades. He said he has not talked to coach Doc Rivers about any impending trades, either.”

All that said, Garnett isn’t a lock to be a Celtic after Thursday’s deadline. If the Celtics can find a deal for Paul Pierce first, then KG might be more open to being moved. There was a previous report that said Garnett would only accept a trade if Pierce was already traded AND if he was being moved to Los Angeles.

Which has to make the Clippers’ brass think about a few things. If the Clippers are really the only logical landing spot for Garnett, why trade both of your valuable young assets in Bledsoe and Jordan? Shouldn’t the Clippers have the bargaining power? If the Celtics really want to move Pierce and Garnett and begin their rebuild, there has to be some leverage in being the only team (forget about it, Lakers fans) that can net him.

As is, it sounds like Garnett wants to stay in Boston. Add that to the reported reluctance of the Clippers front office to trade Bledsoe and Jordan, and this has the makings of a deal that fizzles out. If Celtics GM Danny Ainge really wants to move Garnett, it sounds like he’ll have to tear down the rest of the team first.

Hawks GM: We might have traded up with Bucks if their draft pick didn’t leak first

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Let’s pick up with the No. 16 pick in last night’s NBA draft.

The Suns were on the clock and planning to pick Donte DiVincenzo. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

But then 76ers called Phoenix about trading No. 10 pick Mikel Bridges for the No. 16 pick and a future first-rounder. The teams agreed to the deal (causing this heartbreaking moment), and the Suns picked Zhaire Smith for Philadelphia.

The next three picks:

17. Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks

18. Lonnie Walker, Spurs

19. Kevin Huerter, Hawks

Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk on 95.7 The Game, via ESPN:

“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” Schlenk said. “There’s were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.

“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night.”

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports and Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported the Bucks picking DiVincenzo at 9:18 p.m.:

The pick became official at 9:22 p.m.:

Clearly, Atlanta wanted Huerter or “Mystery Player Not Named Donte DiVincenzo.”* Once they learned Milwaukee would take DiVincenzo at No. 17, the Hawks knew at least one of Huerter or “Mystery Player Not Named Donte DiVincenzo” would be available at No. 19.

*I think there’s a good chance it was Walker, whom San Antonio picked No. 18.

That saved the Hawks an asset(s) and cost the Bucks an asset(s), though perhaps Milwaukee couldn’t have gotten DiVincenzo at No. 19. Maybe the Spurs would’ve selected him at No. 18.

Still, the Bucks didn’t protect their internal plans well enough. Maybe that’s an organizational flaw. But this also could have been a fluky sequence of events. Perhaps, after hearing Phoenix would take DiVincenzo, someone in Milwaukee felt comfortable sharing that the Bucks wanted him. Then, when he surprisingly fell, it was too late. The information was already out there – allowing Atlanta to stand pat.

Danny Ainge unwittingly leaks Celtics’ draft pick on call with Terry Rozier during live show (video)

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Terry Rozier takes solace in how much Danny Ainge believes in him.

But I didn’t appreciate how deep their bond went.

Appearing on Bleacher Report’s live draft show, Rozier was asked to predict the Celtics’ No. 27 pick. So, Rozier called Ainge to ask. Shockingly, Ainge answered – with Boston on the clock. Almost certainly not knowing the call was public and live, Ainge revealed the likely selection:

Good thing the Celtics stuck with Robert Williams. That would have been extremely awkward otherwise.

As is, it was only a little awkward. Williams said today he doesn’t like to be called Bob.

Report: Rival teams expect Paul George to consider 1+1 contract with Thunder

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Paul George has openly stated the appeal of playing for his hometown Lakers. He has also openly stated the appeal of staying with the Thunder.

That has created significant confusion about his upcoming free agency.

Could George find a compromise outcome?

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

More than one rival team has suggested to me that they expect George to strongly consider a two-year deal with the Thunder at $30.3 million next season and $32.7 million in 2019-20 that includes a player option to return to free agency next summer.

This makes sense on paper.

A 1+1 contract would give George more time to determine whether he and Russell Westbrook can win together in Oklahoma City without getting stuck there long-term if they can’t. The Thunder were starting to put it together when Andre Roberson got hurt. Perhaps, Roberson getting healthy would swing Oklahoma City’s fortunes.

George would also be eligible for a higher max salary in two years – 35% of the salary cap, up from 30% if he signs now. So, a short-term contract would allow him to maximize his potential earnings.

But George said he wanted to sign somewhere long-term this summer. He also suffered an extremely gruesome leg injury just a few years ago. He might not want to bypass guaranteed money to gamble for a little more later.

Are these rival teams just looking at the general outlook for a player in George’s position without considering his specific circumstances? Or do they know something? George could have informed teams he might become available in 2019 or 2020 so they should prepare.

I’m skeptical this is more than speculation by opposing teams. But the possibility that they’re basing their expectations on inside information makes this worth monitoring.

Heartbreaking: Watch Mikal Bridges explain joy of joining hometown 76ers while they trade him to Suns (video)

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Mikal Bridges‘ mom jumped up, pumped her fists and screamed “Yes!” through her giant grin.

The 76ers – the organization she works for in human resources – had just drafted her son No. 10 overall. Bridges, a Philadelphia native who played at Villanova, seemed as if he’d stay home for his pro career.

Bridges:

She’s very, very excited. She’s been wanting this. She’s probably more excited than I am. She was about to cry and all that. She said she didn’t want to ruin her makeup, so she’d try to hold it in. But no, she’s very excited. I’m her only son. I’m a little mama’s boy. Her son is right there around the corner again, and it’s just really cool.

Except, as Bridges was talking, the 76ers were trading him to the Suns for No. 16 pick Zhaire Smith and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder.

That extra pick carries major value. Even if you like Bridges much more than Smith – which I did, especially considering their fits in Philadelphia – that’s hard to pass up. The NBA is a business after all.

But it’s lamentable how this played out.