The Boston Celtics transformed themselves from a lottery team to a playoff threat by trading Al Jefferson and a sack of magic beans to the Minnesota Timberwolves for superstar Kevin Garnett.
Kevin Garnett gives Boston a new Big Three that brings the Celtics much closer to what their old Big Three delivered â€” an NBA title.
The Celtics, who have 16 championships but have gone without one for more than two decades, obtained the former MVP and 10-time All-Star on Tuesday in a 7-for-1 deal â€” the NBA’s biggest trade for one player. Boston sent the Minnesota Timberwolves forwards Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green, guard Sebastian Telfair and center Theo Ratliff, two first-round draft picks and cash considerations. Besides Ratliff, 34, the other four are 24 or younger.
With Paul Pierce and Ray Allen already on the roster, the Celtics have been transformed from a promising collection of youngsters who had the NBA’s second-worst record last season into an instant contender in the mediocre Eastern Conference.
“This is probably my best opportunity at winning a ring,” Garnett said. “It was a no-brainer.”
The Celtics won their last championship, the third with the original Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, in 1986. Two members of that club orchestrated Tuesday’s blockbuster trade â€” Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale.
But Ainge cautioned that it’s much too early to equate the two trios. “These guys will never be the Big Three until they win” a championship, he said.
Garnett signed a multi-year extension â€” Ainge wouldn’t say how long. He had one year plus an option year remaining on his contract.
The Timberwolves get the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2009, unless it is among the top three, and a return of Minnesota’s conditional first-round draft pick obtained in January 2006 when they sent Ricky Davis to the Timberwolves for Wally Szczerbiak.
The Celtics traded their future for a chance to win now. Given that all of their new Big Three are over 30, they’d better do it quick.
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