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In basketball.

With the baseball non-waiver trading deadline hours away, and most of the sports news that doesn’t involve scandal being devoted to the National Pastime, the NBA is close to announcing a big trade.

The obligatory “anonymous” source, supposedly someone in the Boston Celtics organization, leaked word of a deal being reached between principles, which if true, would send star center-forward Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Boston, for Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, perhaps two others and a draft pick.

The source told the Associated Press it was happening for sure, but Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says it’s not necessarily so. My guess is that, with old pals Ainge and Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale getting together to talk about something like this, they’ll make it happen. Ainge has conveniently gone to the “other teams are interested” card, which might mean the Lakers are one of those teams.

Since, unfortunately, Mitch Kupchak is still running the Lakers front office, we might as well count them out right now. Kupchak doesn’t pull off blockbusters like this one. He signs guys like Coby Karl instead. Yes, the Lakers have just acquired a second Coby, and he’s George Karl’s son. Did you even know George Karl had a son?

It’s a nice story, actually, because Karl, an All-WAC man last year at Boise State, is on the mend from cancer a second time, and we wish him the best. How can you not? But he’s not Kevin Garnett, quite obviously, and he probably won’t even make the regular season roster.

The Lakers need a big, bold move. If not Garnett, then how about Chris Webber, who’s a free agent again, or Jermaine O’Neal, who’s seemingly always rumored to be going someplace?

OK, that’s enough basketball. Back to the edge of your chair, and the excruciating wait for the baseball deals to get done.

— HOWARD COLE

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