Much of the trade talk from the Brooklyn Nets’ vantage point has focused on the team’s three stars, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson. Another player on the team could find himself in another jersey after the NBA’s trade deadline, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
Lowe wrote recently that Kevin Garnett will be the subject of trade talks in the next few weeks. While the Nets have better players to trade, dealing Garnett also seems to make perfect sense.
Despite aging, the forward still has some game left at 38. Teams shouldn’t be terribly scared off by his modest 6.9 points per game in Brooklyn because he simply doesn’t have the opportunity to do much more than that with Lopez, Williams, and Johnson dominating the ball. He gets fewer than seven shots per game and just doesn’t have an ample chance to be a big time contributor on a team with so many stars.
Garnett is still managing pretty well on the boards, too, bringing in just under seven rebounds per game despite playing only 20 minutes a night. In fact, his .33 rebounds per minute aren’t far behind from the .35 he averaged in his best statistical rebounding season in 2004-05 when he averaged a career-high 13.9 per game. When you consider that he’s still rebounding almost as well as he ever has in terms of pure production, that’s incredibly impressive.
Then there’s the postseason experience, which he has plenty of thanks to his time in Boston and Minnesota. Garnett has played in 143 career playoff games and while he could go to a team that isn’t a contender (more on that in a bit), if he went to a team destined to make a postseason run, he adds value there.
Even for teams not entirely convinced on how much he has left, he is still a valued commodity to a degree. Garnett is in the last year of his deal and his ever-important expiring contract can help a team that wants to clear cap space for next year to pursue free agents. Of course, that’s also a reason the Nets could hang onto him. Brooklyn may not want to use of much of its cap allotment and would really need to find the right deal to move him — think a draft pick or younger player.
Lowe speculates that three teams that could be interested are the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets, and Golden State Warriors. Two of those teams, the Raptors and Warriors, are near the top of their respective conferences, and the Hornets are in the mix for a playoff spot.
My guess is that Garnett stays put since his expiring contract allows the Nets to begin the process of rebuilding next year. Plus, while he can still contribute, he isn’t the kind of difference-maker that will bring a large return. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on with the trade deadline getting closer.
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