Kevin Garnett nearly went to team other than Celtics, ex-rival says
Kevin Garnett joining forces with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the Boston Celtics was one of the seminal moments in recent NBA history. But it almost never happened, according to a former rival.
In an appearance this week on Draymond Green’s podcast, retired ex-NBA swingman Matt Barnes revealed that Garnett nearly got traded to the Golden State Warriors in 2007 instead of the Celtics.
“We were supposed to trade J-Rich [Jason Richardson] and our pick to get Kevin Garnett,” said Barnes, who was on the Warriors at the time. “We were supposed to get Kevin Garnett that year, basically for Jason Richardson. So we would have added Kevin Garnett to that young team … He said his three teams were, he called it, ‘that team in Oakland,’ the Lakers, and the Celtics. He obviously ended up going with Celtics and winning a championship.”
The offseason in question was right after the Warriors’ famous “We Believe” season where they upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round. In addition to Barnes, the team also had Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, and Al Harrington. Adding Garnett’s 20 points and ten rebounds a game to the mix could have made Golden State absolutely lethal. Instead though, the Warriors added an old Chris Webber to their frontcourt and failed to make the playoffs the next season.
Meanwhile, Garnett’s move to Boston created an enormous butterfly effect for the NBA. The Celtics won the title in 2008, and their dominance in the Eastern Conference helped lead to LeBron James forming a superteam of his own in Miami. The Heat’s dominance then contributed to the breakup of high-flying young teams like the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-James Harden Oklahoma City Thunder. That then, in an oddly-fitting twist, opened the door for the Warriors, the team that originally missed out on Garnett, to become a dynasty in the latter part of the 2010s. Without Garnett going to the Celtics instead of the Warriors in 2007, it is safe to say that the last decade-and-a-half in the NBA would have looked entirely different.
Both Garnett and the Warriors ended up doing well for themselves. But it is still fun to imagine what could have been between the two of them. Garnett may have liked playing for then-coach Don Nelson for a number of reasons.
Photo: Dec 21, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett (21) prior to the start of a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports