Kevin Garnett (right) can veto any deal with his no-trade clause. (Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Here is the latest buzz around the NBA with three days remaining before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline:
• Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: The Boston Celtics can discuss a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers or any other NBA team all they want, but Kevin Garnett says it won't matter. Asked Saturday if there was any circumstance or team that could entice him to give up his no-trade clause and leave Boston, Garnett said, "No." Even so, the Clippers still believe they can get Garnett to accept a trade if the Celtics tell him they want to make a deal, a source told Yahoo! Sports. ... The Celtics and Clippers have been discussing a deal that would send guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan to Boston for Garnett. The two teams have talked regularly, but the biggest hurdle to clear could be Garnett's no-trade clause. The Clippers hope they can convince Garnett to join them because his offseason home is in Malibu just outside Los Angeles. Garnett also is close friends with former Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Chauncey Billups, who is now in his second season with the Clippers. The Clippers own the Western Conference's third-best record at 39-17 and are attracted to adding a big man like Garnett who could open up the offense with his jump shooting, giving Blake Griffin more room to play in the post.
• Dan Woike, Orange County Register: [Clippers] Vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks was at Sunday’s game in Houston, and he’s well aware of the rumors surrounding his team. “We’re listening,” he said. “But we love our team. If there’s something out there that makes us better, we’ll do it.” According to sources, the Clippers aren’t in any advanced trade discussions at this time, but the team could be aggressive at the deadline. The Clippers entered the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak after getting Chauncey Billups back into the lineup. If the team doesn’t find a suitable deal, the Clippers would be comfortable standing pat because of the versatility of the current roster provided by the team’s depth.
• Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein, ESPN.com: The Los Angeles Clippers' options for dealing Eric Bledsoe should they reverse course and decide to part with their prized young point guard appear to be increasing before Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com late Saturday there is a level of mutual interest between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in exploring a deal that would feature Bledsoe as the headliner in a trade package for Jazz forward Paul Millsap. Although two sources with knowledge of the Clippers' thinking insisted during All-Star Weekend that Bledsoe would not be moved in coming days and strongly predicted L.A. would stand pat, two other sources indicated the Clippers and Jazz will at least discuss the feasibility of a trade headlined by Bledsoe and Millsap before the deadline.
• Darnell Mayberry and John Rohde, The Oklahoman: The NBA's trading deadline is now just three days away, and when it comes and goes Thursday the league's landscape could be drastically different. How it impacts the Thunder and its chase to the championship remains the biggest question. Will Kevin Martin still be in Oklahoma City by the end of the week? What about the multiple draft picks the Thunder owns? Or Eric Maynor. The Thunder could use more rebounding, perimeter shooting and, above all, inside scoring. But it's been quieter than normal on the trade front in OKC, which could mean something or nothing at all. Of course, there's always the possibility that we see nothing happen.
• Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee: Will the Kings make a deal at the trade deadline? Don't hold your breath. "It's very unlikely we'd move any of our top players at this point," basketball president Geoff Petrie said. The unsettled ownership situation has put deals on hold. The Kings' most desirable player is [DeMarcus] Cousins, but even before the ownership situation became uncertain, the Kings weren't dealing him.
• Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The next few days will determine plenty about how the Milwaukee Bucks approach the final 31 games of the season. And whatever happens before Thursday's league trade deadline also could have a serious long-term effect on the Bucks' fortunes. Bucks general manager John Hammond faces a dilemma with his two starting point guards. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis have led the team into playoff position at the all-star break, although the Bucks have been on a roller-coaster ride thus far. They are 26-25 and in the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, which would put them in a first-round matchup against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, if the season ended right now. ... The contract situations of the two players could have an impact on what happens this week. Ellis has an $11 million player option for next season and can leave to become an unrestricted free agent. Jennings will be a restricted free agent in the off-season but has hired a new agent, and his camp is sending signals it will be seeking a lucrative deal. The Bucks will have a right to match any offer but whether they want to do so is something they have to ponder. So whatever the Bucks do, it will affect their prospects the rest of the season as well as for the long term.
• Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Understand that if [Mike] Miller does make it through the season [with Miami], he almost assuredly be an amnesty cut in the offseason, with an additional two seasons on his contract at $12.8 million total. Also understand that if Miller is dealt, an acquiring team would lose the rights to such an amnesty move. Based on Miller's negligible playing time, the trade market would appear non-existent. Unless, of course, a team in contention retains memories of what Miller did to end last season's NBA Finals.
• Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle: With Thursday’s NBA trade deadline fast approaching, there have been few moves and relatively little movement in that direction compared to previous seasons. That will likely change, but for many teams, the goal has been to make salary maneuvers as much as roster changes. In many ways, that could drive the Rockets’ decision-making more than in any of Daryl Morey’s previous seasons as general manager. He has never let a deadline pass without a move but will be extremely cautious to protect his salary-cap flexibility heading into next summer’s free agency. If anything, he is more likely to use the roughly $6 million in cap room he has to take on salary temporarily to acquire extra draft picks.
• Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: [T]wo sources said this past week that the Pistons likely are done with major moves until the summer. One source even said: "You have already had the main course. You aren't getting seconds." The main course obviously was the [Tayshaun]Prince-[Jose]Calderon deal. But the source added: "You might get dessert." However, there are two things to remember: First, with a payroll just over $68 million, the Pistons are well over the salary cap and close to the $70-million luxury-tax line. The Pistons aren't in position to take on additional salary without giving up salary. Also, if the Pistons are inclined to trade a player for a draft pick, the team would be left with only 12 healthy bodies. (Andre Drummond is expected to miss a month with a back injury.) For the right deal, you could see general manager Joe Dumars rolling with a smaller roster, but it's a legitimate concern in case injuries hit. That doesn't stop teams from calling around and asking about Jonas Jerebko and [Rodney] Stuckey, two players opposing teams ask about most.
• ESPN.com: Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak denied a CBSSports.com report that the Lakers and Celtics were in preliminary talks to trade Dwight Howard for Rajon Rondo. "I haven't talked to Danny Ainge in weeks," Kupchak told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard. "I made the statement a week or two ago that we're not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn't changed." When asked if a possible Howard-for-Rondo trade was discussed when he spoke to the Celtics weeks ago, Kupchak again said no. He said at no point this season has a Howard-for-Rondo trade been discussed. Earlier Friday, Howard addressed the possibility of being traded before the celebrity All-Star Game. Asked if he'd be shocked if the Lakers moved him in the coming days, Howard said: "Well, they told me they weren't going to trade me. So, yeah, I would be surprised."
Word from the executives I talked to over the weekend here and by electronic methods, all suggested there’s not an awful lot of trade activity percolating right now, which we all know can change at the drop of a hat. The big one, of course, is [
big man Andrea] Bargnani and one note I got this weekend simply said: “Looks like the summer.” Now, I know [Raptors GM] Bryan [Colangelo] pretty well and I would say he’ll do something small this week, it’s like second nature to him, to make a deadline-week deal just to be in the fray. But, at this minute, there’s nothing serious going on for anyone, which is good since I have an hour of work and then a three-hour flight to deal with.