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Domino effect?

KG trade might trigger more action among big names

Posted: Thursday August 2, 2007 2:36PM; Updated: Thursday August 2, 2007 4:06PM
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Jermaine O'Neal has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason.
Jermaine O'Neal has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason.
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Now that Kevin Garnett has landed in Boston, it might be time to cue up the Price Is Right theme music and get the famous TV game show's new host, Drew Carey, behind the microphone:

"Jermaine O'Neal ... Come on down!"

"Pau Gasol ... Come on down!"

"Mike Bibby ... Come on down!"

With KG having joined Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in a prize package that no doubt left Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge as hysterical as a Showcase Showdown winner, those other big NBA names could find themselves in hotter demand than ever as teams try to counter Boston's big move.

"There were a lot of teams interested in Garnett," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said. "The Lakers, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix ... now they might be looking for someone else. I don't know, but it may open up some things."

If so, Walsh's phone could be one of the first to start ringing. The Pacers have made it clear that they while they're not actively seeking to trade O'Neal, their 6-11 All-Star power forward, they will listen to offers. The Lakers, Nets and Bulls are just a few teams that might have interest.

The Lakers, for example, still need to do something to placate disgruntled superstar Kobe Bryant and get him to back off his trade demand. GM Mitch Kupchak no doubt will be calling Walsh to inquire about O'Neal. Perhaps he could persuade the Pacers to take a package involving Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum.

The Nets are an interesting case as well. They talked to the Pacers about a deal for O'Neal involving Richard Jefferson before the draft, but according to one source, Indiana was willing to do the deal only if it could move the small forward to a third team.

Whatever the case, Nets president Rod Thorn might want to see about restarting those discussions. New Jersey seems like a team in need of new blood. O'Neal would give the Nets a big man and third All-Star to go with Jason Kidd and Vince Carter and effectively neutralize Boston's Big Three.

Thorn wouldn't comment on any trade discussions, but he said he would continue to pursue any and all avenues to improve his team.

"With us, it depends on what we'd have to give up," he said. "If we have to give up so much that the team isn't going to be as good, we're certainly not going to do that. ... We're still out there talking to different teams, and we'll see. Something might happen, but it's hard to say."

Walsh, meanwhile, also downplayed the possibility of O'Neal being traded anytime soon. He said it would take a lot to get him to give up a 20-point, nine-rebound guy who also defends and protects the rim.

"If we were ever going to do a trade [with O'Neal], it would have to be a blockbuster," Walsh said. "At this point we don't have anything like that. I'm not counting on it. I'm assuming Jermaine will be here."

The Bulls, meanwhile, could try to make another run at Gasol. GM John Paxson talked with the Grizzlies last year at the trade deadline, but ultimately decided he didn't want to break up his young core. He might have to at least think about it again, especially now with Garnett off the market and likely to push the Celtics ahead of the Bulls in the East race.

Whether the Grizzlies would trade Gasol is another matter. New Memphis GM Chris Wallace has said he has no intention of dealing the 7-footer, especially now that the team appears to have retooled somewhat with rookie Michael Conley Jr. joining veteran shooting guard Mike Miller, second-year forward Rudy Gay and free-agent pickup Darko Milicic. But some around the league believe the Grizzlies might be persuaded if they got the right offer.

Like the Bulls, the Cavs also have to be concerned about what Garnett's presence in Boston might mean to their conference title chances. Cleveland so far has done nothing significant to upgrade its roster and give LeBron James the help he needs to stay atop the East. The Cavs were unable to pry Bibby away from the Kings at last season's trade deadline, but GM Danny Ferry might try to make another run at the Sacramento point guard and clutch shot-maker.

As for the Suns and Mavs, they probably now will have to settle for tweaking their rosters. Garnett might have pushed either one of those Western powers over the top, depending on whom they would have had to give up. But at least now they don't have to worry about KG joining one of their main rivals.

Add it all up, and it appears the Garnett deal at least will get teams talking in the days ahead. Whether we see another blockbuster, however, will depend on if the price is right.