Clippers stars address trade rumors

HOUSTON -- It was pure coincidence but it certainly raised a few eyebrows among the assembled media.

As the NBA All-Stars from the East and West gathered on a makeshift dais to sit on director's chairs before practice on Saturday, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin were seated next to Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett.

Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but over the past two weeks there have been multiple reports that the Clippers are actively pursuing Garnett.

Paul and Griffin were no strangers to the rumors as they sat down next to Garnett.

"I think people are just talking," Paul said. "At the end of the day, who wouldn't want to have Kevin Garnett on their team? I talk about that guy all day, every day, his intensity to the game and how he plays the game. He's a special player. That's a guy right there that I looked up to for a long time. Me and Chauncey (Billups) are really close and he and Chauncey are really close and everything I know about him is that he's a very loyal guy."

Garnett's loyalty to Boston, among other factors, is a big reason why a deal is unlikely. Garnett would have to waive his no-trade clause on any potential deal and Garnett said Saturday that he would not drop that clause for any trade.

"If it's up to me, I will live and die green," Garnett said.

Griffin said Garnett was one of the players he looked up to and patterned his game after growing up and welcomed the opportunity to play with him at some point if a trade happened.

"I love the way he competes as a player," Griffin said. "He's a very, very serious competitor. His level of professionalism is off the charts. Every game, I've heard he's the most intense guy to be around. That's tough to do to play as many games as he's played and still have that level of intensity."

As much as Griffin likes the Clippers' roster, he made it clear that there is certainly room for improvement on the team and sometimes personnel moves are a part of that improvement process.

"I think we need to be better," Griffin said. "I think we have enough talent to be a championship contender ... Sometimes you have to plant the seeds and let them grow and all that but with the pieces we have now is the time to continually keep attacking and make those moves to be a championship team."

Paul believes the Clippers have a championship team as they are currently assembled and wants to see the current group, which has been healthy for only four games this season, make a title run together.

"Everybody knows I love our team and love the position that we're in right now," Paul said. "We've been playing great basketball. Right now I'm focused on who we have and what we're doing because we're not playing bad ... Whatever we have out there, we're going to fight with. We're like brothers. I love our team and we're moving forward."