San Antonio is on a hot streak. The squad’s 10 recent wins have catapulted the Spurs to the top of the Western Conference (38-11) with the Oklahoma City Thunder are perched comfortably in second place (36-12). The Clippers, who not so long ago looked destined to become the premier team of the wild West, are losing momentum and hurting from three recent losses—six, actually, in the last eight games. Why is this important? Well, trade rumors surfaced last week that the injury-laden, scrappy-and-slow-looking Clippers were casting lines to Celtics powerhouse Kevin Garnett. Everybody’s first question was: Would that help? Now fans are asking: Is it going to happen? It’s not.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro dispelled the rumors as best he could, saying most of what has been (and currently is being) reported is false. From a practical standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense for L.A. to take an aging Garnett—who comes equipped with a contract that’s still binding for two more years and an astronomical price tag. The gossip was that Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler could potentially be used as centerpieces in a deal to snag Garnett.
Even if this were to happen—and it’s not—it would be a bum deal for the Clippers. What does Garnett bring to the table? He’s less mobile, strong, and intimidating than he used to be. He’s having a season comparable to that of his rookie year. He is, more or less, an old DeAndre Jordan, with ever-fleeting athleticism. This trade deal would probably pan out better for the Celtics, who would find solid guard fodder in Bledsoe, potentially making up for Rondo’s rest-of-season absence. But again, Bean Town’s front office and Lob City’s front office have reportedly not had such trade conversations.
I guess the rumors were inevitable, what with L.A.’s visit to Boston recently and both teams having injury problems to worry about. What was more surprising than the idea of the trade was how quickly it was refuted. Talks like these usually take time gathering steam (and driving fans crazy). Del Negro knows he needs to do something on the trade front, though. As much as I’d like to see the NBA make a Benedict Arnold of ol’ Garnett, it looks like he won’t be venturing to the West Coast anytime soon. That being said, with the trade deadline—February 21—quickly approaching, it’s best to stay tuned to see what does happen.
The Foam Cram: In other L.A. basketball news… … the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 92-83, on the road last night. … Dwight Howard missed his third straight game, giving Pau Gasol the start. … Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash combined for 38 points last night—Bryant with 21 and Nash finishing with the team’s-high eight assists. … Chris Paul worked out before Monday’s game, but his return is nebulous. … Paul (bruised knee cap) and Chauncey Billups (peroneal tendinitis) sat out Monday.
Next Up The Los Angeles Clippers head over to Florida’s Amway Center tonight, hoping to end their mid-season woes with a win against the Orlando Magic. The Magic and the Clippers have met only once this season, with Orlando coming out on top.