WALTHAM, Mass. While the Celtics aren't looking to trade Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers, that doesn't mean the perennial All-Star is convinced that he won't be moved before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
Garnett has every intention of finishing his career as a Celtic. But he knows all too well in the NBA . . . anything is possible.
Ever since Garnett arrived in Boston, Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has been focused on doing whatever is necessary to position the C's to be one of the last teams standing.
"Danny made it obvious . . . that he was going to do what's best for this organization," said Garnett, who came to Boston in 2007 via trade from Minnesota. "He's always made it apparent, so I've always understood that."
But a trade involving Garnett would have to involve him agreeing to forgo his no-trade clause, something that it appears Garnett isn't necessarily willing to do right now.
"I bleed green; I die green, that's what it is," he said. "But it is a business. If it crosses the path, I'll deal with it. But trades are a part of this league. Every year, you're going to hear things."
But as far as trades involving his name, Garnett said, "If I were y'all, I wouldn't read too much into it."
Most of the trade rumors involving Garnett do fetch the C's talent, but consistently fail to deliver a player that comes close to delivering the kind of impact that Garnett has on this team and on this franchise.
And there's no way to ignore the elephant in the room -- that no-trade clause.
Convincing Garnett to agree to a deal would be a monumental task for any team, regardless of how close they are to being a title contender. Even the Clippers, who are stationed just minutes away from his offseason home in Malibu, Calif. and have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring him, would have their work cut out for them.
For players like Pierce, Garnett and their head coach Doc Rivers, trade rumors are kind of like white noise. It's there, but only if you pay close attention to it, which doesn't seem to be the case for them.
But Rivers does hear enough trade rumors that leave him shaking his head, irked by the knowledge that most have no truth to them.
"When I wake up in the morning and I hear a trade rumor that I haven't heard in my office, that's silly and that's what happens," Rivers said.
Rivers says trade rumors are rarely topics of discussion among him and his players.
"Fortunately for a lot of our guys, our veterans, they've been through the drill so they know," Rivers said. "What's changed in my time as an athlete . . . it used to be factual. Now someone can say something and they can create the news and then they can report on the news that they created. I think that's pretty silly."
That won't stop the Celtics from being a hot topic of discussion on the trade rumor circuit, which is not all that surprising when you consider how they have struggled this season and have two key positions (point guard, big man) that aren't nearly as deep because of injuries.
Even with no Rajon Rondo (torn right ACL) or Jared Sullinger (lumbar disc surgery) for the rest of the season, Rivers remains as confident in this group as he did when they were struggling.
The team's current four game winning streak has done nothing but strengthen his faith in them, a group he hopes will still be as they are now once the Feb. 21 trade deadline passes.
But Rivers knows Ainge well enough to know that regardless of how things are playing out now, any player is subject to being moved if the right deal -- in Ainge's eyes -- comes across his desk.
And the players will surely hear and read and see their names tossed about between now and Feb. 21, with most being able to shrug it off easily.
But Rivers acknowledged that there have been times when he felt the trade talks did have a negative affect on some of his players.
"I thought it affected Ray (Allen) a couple years ago," Rivers said. "Some guys could care less. You just never know."
Although Paul Pierce has spent his entire 14-plus NBA career with the Celtics, he know that at any given moment he too can be shipped off somewhere.
Just recently the Detroit Pistons traded Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies after Prince spent 10-plus seasons in Detroit.
"I never pay too much attention to it," Pierce said of trade talks. "Whatever happens, happens. Just like in the draft, when I got drafted (lower than expected) it played out just the way it was supposed to. Things like that have no affect on how I perform, how I come to practice, how I'm going to approach each and every day."