**UPDATE** Yes, they did lead to a trade.
We’re starting to feel a little silly for updating the ongoing KG rumors. It’s become an annual tradition in the NBA for “league sources” to tantalize us with news that a mega-trade involving Garnett is impending, about to happen, being heavily discussed, etc. And, of course, it never happens. The Timberwolves back down from the magnitude of trading a bonafide superstar and taking proper steps towards rebuilding a more complete team, they flirt with the playoffs, and ultimately end up preparing for another summer of rumors.
But this time, it truly feels like the big man is on the move (no, really).
We’re not going to rehash every single scenario that’s been floated by the media over the past few weeks. You’ve heard he’ll land in Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix, maybe even Atlanta. You’ve read that he’ll very likely stay in Minnesota. Who knows, but one thing seems certain: if he does get traded, it will happen sometime before the 2007 NBA Draft which, of course, is tomorrow night.
Now this is something to be psyched about: within the span of 48 hours, we’ll see a gaggle of exciting young talent storm the NBA via the draft. We could also potentially see a slew of superstars trade in their current jerseys for new ones: Garnett, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson, Jermaine O’Neal, maybe even Kobe Bryant. We’ve said before that player movement is a good thing for the NBA right now, and we sincerely hope a few deals are struck in the next few days.
Incoming Phoenix Suns GM Steve Kerr has something in the works, without question. This week, the team worked out a bunch of lottery prospects–Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Jeff Green–even though they do not pick until #24 overall. They could look to deal with Charlotte and jump up to the #8 slot. Another possibility, however, is much more intriguing: KG could join buddy Steve Nash in Phoenix in a three-team deal.
With the Los Angeles Lakers’ attempts to construct a multi-team deal or a direct trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves collapsing, ESPN’s Jim Gray reports that talk of a potential three-team trade that would involve Minnesota, Boston and Phoenix has been rekindled, in which the primary cost to the Suns would be All-Star forward Shawn Marion moving to the Celtics.
In the scenario reported by Gray, Garnett would go to Phoenix, Boston would land Marion and the Wolves would receive a package featuring the No. 5 overall pick in Thursday’s draft along with undisclosed players from the Celtics and Suns.
Yet an even bigger trade concept, ESPN.com has learned, was hatched Tuesday by the Wolves, in which Phoenix would likely be asked to trade away the player it has been trying not to trade, All-NBA center Amare Stoudemire, who would go to the Atlanta Hawks.
Stoudemire in Atlanta w/ Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, etc? H-O-T. Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, and another lottery pick or two to Minnesota? H-O-T. KG to Phoenix? Whatever. At the moment, these scenarios basically amount to a well-known sports conglomerate reporting on conjecture–nothing more. Still, the talks seem to be getting rather far along, and we wouldn’t be surprised if something was done. McHale, Ainge, Kerr: get it done.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski for Yahoo! Sports, the proposed Minnesota/Atlanta/Phoenix trade would send Stoudemire to Atlanta, Garnett to Phoenix, and the #3 and #11 picks in the draft–along with ZaZa Pachulia and Anthony Johnson–to the Timberwolves. That would give McHale three of the top eleven picks in the draft to screw up.
Two more interesting nuggets from the article:
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor has delivered a mandate to his basketball executives to get a deal done, one league executive said.
The front office and coaching staff had settled on Florida power forward Al Horford, but a faction of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group, with business interests in China, is pushing them to take Yi Jianlian.