The Clippers say they are not calling around the NBA shopping point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. But for the second time this month reports have circulated connecting the two Clippers with speculation about a trade involving Boston star Kevin Garnett.
Gary Sacks, the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations, didn’t mention any names, but said “every team has called me” and that “it’s my job to call them back and to listen.”
“I haven’t called anybody to say, ‘Hey, we have Eric Bledsoe and would you like him?’ Or, ‘We have DeAndre Jordan or we have anybody and would you want them?’ That’s not where I am right now with this team,” Sacks said in a phone interview from Houston on Saturday. “That’s not where we are.”
Sacks said Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro and his staff have “the roster to win.”
“It’s up to the coaching staff to figure out a way to get those guys to win games,” Sacks said. “If they don’t feel like we have enough talent, then that’s their problem.”
Sacks said the Clippers will listen to what other teams have to say right up to the trade deadline at noon PST on Thursday to determine whether it warrants L.A. making a move.
But Sacks said if the Clippers aren’t in the “top five” in talent in the NBA right now, “then maybe I should be making calls.”
At the All-Star break, the Clippers have the fourth-best record (39-17) in the NBA behind Western Conference rivals San Antonio (42-12) and Oklahoma City (39-14) as well as defending champion and Eastern Conference power Miami (36-14).
“Just because people want something to happen, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” Sacks said. “Again from our end, I am not shopping our guys.”
Garnett has a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to waive that in order to be moved by the Celtics to any team. He’ll be 37 in May and has two more years left on his deal for a total of $24.433 million.
Sacks said it’s understood around the league that the Celtics need a point guard because Rajon Rondo had season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his right knee.
Sacks said other NBA executives believe Chris Paul will sign a five-year, $110-million extension with the Clippers this summer and that’s why L.A. might be willing to trade Bledsoe.
“You’ve got the best point guard in the NBA on your team and you’ve got the best backup who is ready for a bigger role, potentially,” Sacks said. “So, of course, they are going to call. But that doesn’t mean we should just trade him. That’s crazy.
“I like our team. I think we have a chance to be in the mix at the end whether we do something or not. Look, I’m not saying that five days from now that we wouldn’t change our mind if there is a deal that makes sense for us. I’m never going to say never. But I’d be thrilled if we had the same roster as we move forward into the rest of the season. I like who we are.”