The NBA hasn’t been back for a week, and there are already reports of the Celtics’ willingness to trade Rajon Rondo. Apparently, one scenario in which the C’s would move one of the game’s best point guards would be if they could get arguably the best point guard in return.
SI.com is reporting that Celtics president Danny Ainge has his eye on New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul. Widely considered the game’s best point guard, Rondo would certainly have to be involved in a move that may bring Paul to Boston.
However, the report states that the Hornets aren’t particularly thrilled about the prospects of trading Paul in a two-team deal with the Celtics. Rondo has four years and almost $50 million left on his contract, so in order for the Hornets to sign off on a deal, Ainge would likely have to get a third team involved to help the Hornets land quality young players.
Of course, that’s not the only obstacle slowing Ainge in his attempt to land Paul in a blockbuster. For starters, Paul doesn’t come cheap. He’s due more than $16 million for the 2011-12 season, and he also has a player option for $17.8 million in ’12-13. However, it’s unlikely that things even get that far, as Paul is expected to opt out of the deal.
So, in order for the Celtics to acquire Paul, you would have to think that they would get Paul to agree to a long-term extension, especially given the fact that Rondo has years left on his contract at a relatively affordable price.
There’s also a widespread belief that Paul is itching to play in New York alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to form another big three akin to what Miami has in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"Chris Paul’s first choice is to play for the Knicks, sources say," ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted Tuesday morning. "He’s willing to wait & sign w/NYK as free agent next summer."
Paul is a four-time All-Star who enters his sixth season in the league after being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft out of Wake Forest. He averages 18.7 points and a hair under 10 assists per game for his career, while also twice leading the league in assists and three times leading the league in steals.