The Boston Celtics agreed in principle Monday to acquire 10-time all-star power forward Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to a league source. The trade matches a once-great franchise with the 2004 NBA most valuable player – and instantly makes the Celtics, a team that won just 24 games last season, a contender in the Eastern Conference.
The 6-foot-11 Garnett becomes the third former MVP to be traded in the past three years, joining Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson. He will form an all-star trio in Boston with veterans Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, who was acquired in a draft day deal that sent former Georgetown star Jeff Green to Seattle.
As part of the blockbuster deal – which ends Garnett’s 12-year run in Minnesota – the Celtics had to part with a package of players that reportedly includes Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and at least one first-round pick.
With one of the youngest rosters in the league, the Celtics finished with the second-worst record in the league last season. Despite winning an NBA-best 16 championships, Boston hasn’t won a title since 1986 and was most recently in the conference finals in 2002.
Celtics President Danny Ainge has made it clear this summer that he is turning away from a strategy based on building the team with young players and replacing it with a win-now policy by matching Garnett, 31, and Allen, who turned 32 this month, with Pierce, who will turn 30 in October. Those three players will earn close to $60 million combined next season, making the Celtics a luxury-tax paying team.
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