By Ben Golliver
Nothing inspires a little Celtic pride quite like a blowout victory against the Lakers.
Following Boston's 116-95 dismantling of Los Angeles at T.D. Garden on Thursday, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett issued a brief statement on the trade rumors that have swirled around him over the last week.
"I just want to say that I love my situation here," Garnett said, according to the Boston Globe and WEEI radio. "I don't know what all your sources, or whoever's making up these bull---- --- articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these other places. I bleed green and I'll continue to do that, and if it's up to me, then I'm going to retire a Celtic. I just want everybody to know that. Keep it real, alright?"
The trade rumors really picked up around Garnett and the Celtics after Boston endured season-ending injuries to both Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. A Sporting News report earlier this week linked Garnett, who has a no-trade clause, to a possible deal with the Clippers, although that report was quickly denied in multiple publications. The Denver Post reported that Garnett was not interested in playing for the Nuggets, although Denver's level of interest, and the level of conversation between the two teams, wasn't made entirely clear.
Earlier this week, the Boston Herald reported Garnett's initial reaction to the rumors.
"I bleed green, I’ll die green, that’s what it is. But it is a business, and when that process is passed I’ll deal with it," he said. "Trades are a part of this league, every year you’re going to hear certain things, and if I were ya’ll I wouldn’t read too much into it."
Garnett's bravado on Thursday is understandable. He reached 25,000 career points and the Celtics downed their major rival, extending their winning streak to six games and pushing past the Bucks to claim the No. 7 seed in the East. In a rollercoaster season, Thursday represented one of the highest points, even if Rondo's absence loomed over the moment. Is this recent success enough to convince Celtics management to hang tight at the deadline and take their chances in the playoffs, even if they are destined for a tough match-up without homecourt advantage? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, if Garnett is set on staying in Boston, as he says, then any rumors involving him being moved before the Feb. 21 deadline are dead on arrival. Publicly stating that you want to "retire a Celtic" is about the cleanest way to exercise a no-trade clause.