BOSTON – As the Red Sox seemingly deal away half of their roster, the timing is perfect for Celtics fans to take a walk down memory lane and look back at when the Celtics set off their own set of fireworks.
Seven years ago today, the Celtics officially pulled the trigger on acquiring Kevin Garnett, sending out an extensive collection of players and draft picks to land the catalyst to the team’s 2008 title run.
I won’t waste your time talking about the impact Garnett made in Boston since every Celtics fan that watched the team play from 2007-2013 knows what he brought to the table both on and off the floor. Instead, let’s take a fun look back at what exactly the Celtics gave up in that trade and where those players are today:
Al Jefferson – The cornerstone of Boston’s offer is still blossoming seven years later, but the problem is he wasn’t able to do much of it during his three years in Minnesota. A torn ACL during the 2008-09 season after he received a massive contract extension from Minnesota was a major setback for Jefferson’s career. Additionally, Big Al never meshed well with a young Kevin Love, and their lack of interior defense together proved to be a bad match. The Wolves eventually sold low on Jefferson to Utah for a pair of first round picks in the summer of 2010, a move they likely regret now that Jefferson is thriving at age 29 with the Charlotte Hornets.
Gerald Green – Like Jefferson, the best moments of Green’s career came plenty of years down the road from his Minnesota tenure. The small forward failed to get on the floor much for the Wolves during the 2007-08 season, which led to his agent demanding a trade in January 2008. Green was dealt to Houston that February and was released by the Rockets a short time after. After bouncing around the league and some international teams for the next few years, Green finally made his way back to the NBA in 2012 and stood out as a terrific bench sparkplug for the Phoenix Suns during the 2013-14 season.
Sebastian Telfair – Telfair has been a disappointment pretty much wherever he’s gone throughout his NBA career, and that rang true for him in Minnesota. He lasted two seasons there, mostly starting at point guard on some awful teams before the Wolves shipped him off to the Clippers in the summer of 2009. Incredibly, after not playing in the NBA last season, Telfair will join his eighth different team over his ten-year career by suiting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder next year.
Ryan Gomes – The former Celtic fan favorite was probably the only player in this deal that lived up to expectations while playing in Minnesota. He posted three straight above-average seasons at small forward for the Wolves from 2007-2010, averaging 14 points and five rebounds per game over that span before the team dumped him to the Clippers. In a funny twist, it appears that Gomes’ NBA career ended with the Celtics this year, after the team re-acquired him (and then waived him) in the three-team Courtney Lee trade back in January.
Theo Ratliff – Ratliff was once a top defensive center in the NBA, but he was more known for his hefty expiring contract than his play on the floor by the time he was sent off to Minnesota in the KG blockbuster. Ratliff suited up for a whopping 10 games in Minnesota before the team waived him in February 2008. He retired three injury-plagued season later at age 37.
Two 2009 first round picks – The Celtics sent the Wolves their own 2009 first round pick and Minnesota’s own 2009 first round pick back to them as the final piece of the Garnett trade. The Celtics had initially acquired that 2009 Wolves pick from a 2006 trade involving Mark Blount, Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak.
That Wolves first round pick ended up being the no. 6 selection in the 2009 draft and the Wolves passed up names like Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan and took Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn instead. Needless to say, a pairing of Flynn and fellow young point guard (the no. 5 overall pick) Ricky Rubio did not work well in Minnesota. Flynn also suffered a hip injury in 2010 that proved to be a major setback for his athleticism. The Wolves dealt him away in 2011, and he’s been out of the league since 2012. Future reserve Wayne Ellington was taken by the Wolves at no. 28.
So when you wonder why Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has been hesitant to do any dealing with Danny Ainge this summer, the Kevin Garnett trade is a big reason why. The trade package doesn’t look as bad now as it once did, but the delayed development of these players (along with some missed draft picks) made this deal an unmitigated disaster the Wolves are trying to recover from to this very day.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.
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