Report: Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles Lakers, Jermaine O’Neal to Boston Celtics
If the so-called “insider sources” are to be believed, former MVP Kevin Garnett may be on his way to join Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The rumoured deal has the veteran of twelve NBA seasons as the biggest name in a four-team trade involving L.A., the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Indiana Pacers and, potentially, the Boston Celtics.
So, who gets whom if the suits shake hands? The terms are, predictably, uncertain at the moment, with the following being the most likely scenario.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kevin Garnett (from MIN)
Indiana Pacers: Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum (from LAL)
Minnesota Timberwolves: Lottery picks, as-yet unnamed players (from BOS)
Boston Celtics: Jermaine O’Neal (from IND)
Although most will be quick to declare the Lakers the winners in this little swap, that’s not to say that the other participants will be going home empty-handed. Let’s take a look at each franchise individually to consider their potential gains and losses if, indeed, the deal does go down.
Los Angeles Lakers
It isn’t hard to see how the yellow-and-gold would benefit from this trade. While they’re taking something of a risk in giving up a young seven-footer tagged to be one of the league’s better fives in a few years, they’re getting perhaps the most productive player on the planet in return. Lamar Odom, the other Laker set to move east if the paperwork is signed, is a talented but troubled point-forward best described as a poor man’s Kevin Garnett. He is not, then, a huge loss for L.A. when they’re giving him up for the actual Kevin Garnett.
While this is ostensibly a two-for-one deal, it is, in fact, worth a pair of superstars to the Lakers since it’ll almost undoubtedly put an end to Kobe Bryant’s trade requests. Although it previously looked as if he was the most likely maximum-contract player to be moved this summer, this show of commitment to assembling a championship squad by Jerry Buss should be sufficient to keep him in place.
This deal doesn’t put the Pacers in a particularly strong position at present, but it does give them a pivot who, if nurtured carefully, could be worth his weight in gold in a couple of seasons. Andrew Bynum will be in the perfect place to develop his game in Indianapolis, free from the now-or-never expectations introduced by Kobe, and on a team which, like him, is very much in a phase of development.
Like his young teammate, Lamar Odom may or may not prove to be an asset to the organisation, but for entirely different reasons. While the question mark over Bynum regards his ability to achieve his potential, L.O. should be considered a gamble for his repeated failure to find his niche within a team structure. Although it’s clear already that he’s never going to become a top-tier player in the NBA, some still believe that he’s capable of being a team’s primary option in the right situation. If that turns out to be this depleted Indiana squad, the Pacers won’t feel so bad for giving up their only all-star.
It’s impossible to say how well things could work out for the ’Wolves without knowing exactly who’ll be moving to Minny and which picks they’ll be acquiring. What can be said, however, is that this puts them in a much stronger position to rebuild over the coming seasons, with the cap flexibility afforded them by trading the forty-five million bones remaining on Kevin Garnett’s contract giving them the cash to bring a big name or two to town.
Again, it’s tough to tell how this side will come out of the deal without knowing which players and draft spots they’ll be relinquishing in order to pick up Jermaine O’Neal. Whatever the case, they’d have to give up half of their roster to match the value of the 6’11” four, and as such it’s likely that they’ll be sitting pretty once the ink dries on this one. J.O. is generally regarded as the east’s finest all-round forward, being one of the few post players in the game capable of putting up twenty-plus points at one end while swatting two or three shots a night at the other. If he can stave off the injuries that have abbreviated his seasons and diminished his efficacy of late, he could form a formidable one-two punch in Boston with fellow all-star Paul Pierce and put the storied franchise back on track.
What do you think about the proposed trades? Who’s coming away with more than they deserve? Who’s getting robbed? Let us know by commenting in the box below or by crashing our new message board at .