The acquisition of Ray Allen on draft night instantly made the Celtics better, a quality veteran, another scorer to go along with Paul Pierce. Then came the Garnett blockbuster. What did this mean? Maybe Larry Bird said it best. Asked earlier in the season who the MVP of the league was, Bird quipped, “Kevin McHale.”
--BILL REYNOLDS, Providence Journal
I go back and forth on the role Kevin McHale played in trading Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics.
On the one hand, the Wolves got Al Jefferson and Theo Ratliff. Jefferson is averaging 20-10, and Theo's $11.9m contract comes off the books at the end of the year. The Los Angeles Lakers were supposedly in the running to get Garnett, but couldn't pony up similar assets. Center Andrew Bynum wasn't averaging 20-10 for the Lakers before he got injured, the Lakers didn't have $12m in expiring contracts to shed, and the Wolves were unwilling to take on Lamar Odom's onerous contract, as McHale isn't a fan. McHale also received two first round picks from Boston, including the Wolves own first round pick, traded to Boston earlier in 2007.
On the other hand, the deal has been an unabashed success for the Celtics and the total opposite for the Wolves. Kevin Garnett is arguably the most valuable player in basketball, while the Celtics have won as many games as the Wolves have lost. Most suspiciously, McHale, a former Celtic, has made clear several times in the past that he would never take any action to improve the Lakers. McHale remains a fan favorite in Boston, and this deal only cements his place in Celtic lore.
Regardless, I'd seen a number of Larry Bird quotes about the so-called McHale-Ainge conspiracy, but I hadn't seen this one until now.