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Garnett headed to Celtics

Timberwolves set to trade star forward for Jefferson, four others and two No. 1 picks.

July 31, 2007|Mark Heisler | Times Staff Writer

Kevin McHale, who helped build a powerhouse in Boston in the 1980s, may be about to build another one.

Of course, the first time, he played there.

Now the Minnesota Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, McHale has reportedly agreed to a trade that would send Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, Ryan Gomes and two No. 1 picks.

The Celtics package would, at least, satisfy McHale's dogged insistence on starting over with young players and getting salary-cap relief.

The 22-year-old Jefferson averaged 20 points and 11.5 rebounds after the All-Star game last season (and 16.0 points, 11.0 rebounds for the full season), but Gomes is a journeyman, Green a disappointment, Telfair was expected to be waived and Ratliff is in the deal for his expiring $11.7 million contract.

In June, McHale turned down a Lakers offer of Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, reportedly because Odom has two years worth almost $28 million left on his contract.

A Celtics official told the Boston Globe on Monday that a restructured deal between the Timberwolves and Celtics "is in place." It reportedly hinges on Garnett waiving part of his $6.75 million trade kicker to keep Boston under the luxury tax threshold.

This, is turn, depends on Garnett's signing an extension with the Celtics, which would recoup his money but commit him to staying in Boston.

A similar deal foundered in June after Garnett's agent, Andy Miller, said his client, who has an opt-out clause next summer, said, "That's not a destination we're interested in pursuing.

Garnett, the 2004 most valuable player and a 10-time All-Star, has never commented but has reportedly withdrawn his objections to the trade.

Neither team commented Monday. However, Miller told the Globe, "There are serious discussions in place."

If the deal goes through, it would rescue the moribund Celtics, who have missed the playoffs in nine of the 14 seasons since McHale retired in 1993.

With Garnett, Paul Pierce and newly-acquired Ray Allen, the Celtics, who sank to 24-58 last season, could join the East's elite.

A deal would also end the long chase for Garnett by suitors eyeing his 2008 opt-out, starting with the Lakers.

After years of speculation that Garnett, who has a summer home in Malibu, wanted to play here, this off-season the Lakers offered Bynum and Odom to the Timberwolves for Garnett, then put them in a four-way deal with Minnesota, Boston and Indiana.

However, Boston GM Danny Ainge rejected that one, which would have sent Jermaine O'Neal to Boston.

Garnett, who would never ask to be traded, and the Timberwolves, who kept trying to make it work with him, have long avoided this day. Last year McHale turned down a Chicago offer of Luol Deng, Tyson Chandler and the No. 2 pick in that draft.

This season's 13th-place finish ended the Timberwolves' illusions and, if this Boston deal goes through, it ends Garnett's 12-year career in Minnesota.

mark.heisler@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Big deal

A look at the reported trade between Minnesota and Boston:

*--* BOSTON GETS Player Position PPG Kevin Garnett Forward 22.4 MINNESOTA GETS Player Position PPG Al Jefferson Forward 16.0 Gerald Green Guard 10.4 Sebastian Telfair Guard 6.1 Theo Ratliff Center 2.5 Ryan Gomes Forward 12.1

*--*

Note: Timberwolves will also receive two first-round picks.

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