I’ve got a real hard time with basketball.

The FranchiseAll the rage in Boston today is over the late night Kevin Garnett trade. And I’m certainly excited for Boston to get him – devil knows the Celtics could use anything up to and including Boston College-level point shaving to get a winning season again.

But apparently, you can get one player in exchange for “five players and two draft picks” and still come out ahead on the deal.

This makes no sense to me. It doesn’t even read right. Imagine Bill Belichick trading eleven players and the second and third round draft picks in exchange for Carson Palmer. Imagine Billy Beane trading his first, second and third basemen for Tom Gorzelanny.

I know, I know, apples and oranges. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have a hard time with basketball because I don’t like the inordinate influence one player has on an entire team. It’s not about the billion-dollar superstar or the sneaker deal. It’s about teamwork! It’s about ball handling! It’s about the fundamentals! Gene Hackman doesn’t give a damn whether Jimmy plays or not!

The level of despair that Boston sports fans exuded after the Celtics drew fifth in the draft lottery reached, well, truly Bostonian proportions. At that point we were just waiting out next season – Paul Pierce listlessly dribbling down the court, waiting for the shot clock to expire before bouncing the ball off his shoe and weeping – until next season, when maybe the air-driven path of a Ping Pong ball would favor us again. Now, suddenly, with the addition of a guy from the Timberwolves (?!?) to our line-up, SI puts us at third in the East. “Instant contenders.” The hell?

I’d like to be proven wrong, mostly because I like the spirit that comes from living in a four sport city. And Kevin Garnett’s a nice enough guy – just look at him! – that I’ll have no problem rooting for him. But somebody engraved in my brain at an early age that it takes more than one man to win a championship, and I’ll always be skeptical of the exception.

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  • Duck

    Naw, basketball’s all about DUNKS! And GIMME THE BALL! And POSSES! And RESPECT! Ron Artest’s gonna make you clean up that drink with your FACE!

    Part of the reason this is such a big deal is not only because Garnett’s a big star, but because his talent alone is enough to make Boston the major contender to take the pathetic Eastern conference title. The conference situation in basketball is so lopsided right now that Lebron James could have led a team made up of the people from Space Jam — not the characters, but the cartoonists who drew the characters — and still have managed to win the East this past year.

    Still, even in silly old basketball, it does take more than one man to win a championship. That’s why Garnett’s never earned one; he’s never had anybody else to play with (aside from Sam Cassell, for a little while). It takes 2 damn good players to even really be a contender for that gaudy NBA trophy, and if you have 3 of them, well, then you’re the Spurs and you’re gonna be leaving with it anyway!

  • Gorzellany’s worth all three, plus a draft pick or two.

  • M. Witty

    See, I always thought Coach Dale really did give a damn if Jimmy played, he was just smart enough to try a different approach — and it ended up saving his job. That, and he didn’t want to ruin his chances with Barbara Hershey.

  • Who wouldn’t? Hotcha!

    But I think this is the pre-redemption phase of the movie, where Coach Dale doesn’t really believe in the team yet. So he’s got a very devil-may-care attitude toward people who want to flaunt his program.

  • Marcelo

    Okay first you have to look at the roster. The allen trade made absolutely no sense becasue you had two permiter players who didn’t pay defense who did similar things on the team and both played the 2. With Garnett, now you have an until recently MVP caliber player in the post. Now Allen and Pierce can be more complementary with their games meshing around Garnett’s game.

    Also, imagine you are a ring hungry veteran who has his money and can sign for the mid-level exception. Now Boston looks good. Maybe you would be willing to play for half the exception so Boston can get two more veterans and rule the East. If you already had your big payday, playing with KG, Pierce, and Jesus Shuttlesworth would be rather enticing.

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