Before last night’s big win over the Lakers, Danny Ainge took part in his usual interview on WEEI-FM, acknowledging once again that he was “unlikely” to deal Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce this trade deadline. Despite the declaration, we know Danny better than this. Even with the C’s winning streak, Danny is exploring deals for Paul Pierce and will undoubtedly deal Garnett as well out West (if, and only if) Pierce is sent packing.
Garnett, Pierce and the Celtics realize this though and have come to terms with there being only one real way to stop the possibility…play too damn well and force Danny’s hand, so there can be no dealing of the veteran core. You can’t break up teams on winning streaks like this, Danny. I wrote about that message today in today’s Daily Dime for ESPN.com.
BOSTON — The wins keep piling up, but the trade winds won’t stop blowing into the TD Garden.
With a 116-95 demolition of the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night, the Celtics dealt Kobe Bryant his worst loss of the season while tying their season-high with a six-game winning streak. Kevin Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points in the win, highlighting what should have been a banner night for the hosts as they ran their rivals out of the building with a third-quarter scoring onslaught.
Yet, after the game, the atmosphere in the Boston locker room wasn’t completely jovial. It’s not often you hear players feel the need to address trade rumors in the midst of a six-game winning streak, but that’s exactly what happened Thursday night. Garnett closed his news conference with an unprompted statement about his status and future in Boston.
“On a last note, I just want to say that I love my situation here,” Garnett said. “I don’t know what y’all sources or whoever’s making up these bulls— a– articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these other places. But I bleed green and I continue to do that. And if it’s up to me then I’m going to retire a Celtic. So I just want everybody to know that, all right?”
It was a strong declaration by Garnett, with the threat of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge blowing up this team’s core still hanging over Garnett’s head. Ainge remains adamant that dealing either Garnett, who has a no-trade clause, and Paul Pierce is unlikely, but there’s no doubt he is exploring his options with an eye towards the future for this group. The question now is whether this injury-ridden roster can prove to Ainge to stand pat and let this group, led by the veteran duo, take another shot at a deep playoff run.