BOSTON (AP) -All-Star Kevin Garnett was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to Boston on Tuesday for five players and two draft picks, a deal that transforms the Celtics into an instant contender.
The Celtics - who have 16 championships but none in more than two decades - obtained the former MVP and 10-time All-Star from Minnesota for forwards Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green, guard Sebastian Telfair and center Theo Ratliff and two first-round draft picks.
With Paul Pierce and Ray Allen already on the roster, the Celtics are now far more than a promising collection of youngsters who had the NBA's second-worst record last season in a mediocre Eastern Conference.
Besides the 34-year-old Ratliff, the four players going to the Timberwolves are 22 or younger.
The Celtics were reluctant to part with Jefferson, but he was key to the deal for Minnesota. He had a breakout season in 2006-07, his third with Boston, when he averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds after struggling with injuries the previous season.
The teams had discussed a trade for the 6-foot-11 Garnett, the NBA's leading rebounder last season, before the draft on April 26. But he didn't want to go to Boston and the Celtics didn't want to give up Jefferson.
But the acquisition of Allen, 32, in a draft-day trade with Seattle to go with Pierce, 29, may have helped change Garnett's mind because it makes the Celtics more competitive in the next few years. It also gave Garnett, 31, a better chance at a title after Minnesota missed the last three playoffs in the tough Western Conference.
Led by Garnett's MVP season, the Timberwolves came within two wins of the NBA finals in 2004. The forward averaged 24.2 points and a league-high 13.9 rebounds that season, joining Larry Bird as the only players to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for five consecutive years.
But Minnesota has fired two coaches and not made the playoffs since. Garnett never said he was unhappy and never asked to be traded but expressed frustration with some of vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale's personnel decisions and challenged him to upgrade the roster.
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