Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick reports that Danny Ainge is trying to move Rajon Rondo in a deal to New Orleans for Chris Paul. Amick’s report picks up on a comment made by Chris Broussard of ESPN yesterday suggesting Ainge would move Rondo for the right player (something which all regular readers of CelticsHub know is true, right?)
Ainge, the sources say, has recently discussed trading Rondo in a deal that nets Paul, but the Hornets don’t appear interested in a two-team deal in which Rondo — who has four years worth approximately $46 million left on his contract — and Paul would switch places. So Ainge has been on the prowl for a third team that could provide the sort of young pieces Hornets general manager Dell Demps would covet as part of his possible rebuilding plan. The more pressing question, of course, is whether Paul, who can become a free agent after this season, would consider signing an extension with Boston.
The Celtics’ modus operandi since Wyc Grousbeck and co. bought the team has been to secure transcendent top-of-the-rotation talent in pursuit of titles. Rondo, while excellent in many respects, is simply not in Paul’s class. See our comments this morning in the 5-on-5. It has long been assumed that Paul will opt out of his contract in the summer of 2012 and relocate to a franchise capable of surrounding him with championship-level talent. That effectively forces the league-owned Hornets to move him lest New Orleans end up like Cleveland and Toronto did after the twin-departures of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010.
So, we’re left with quite a few additional questions, among them:
Can Ainge find the necessary pieces in terms of players and picks to lure Paul from the Hornets?
What team could make a better offer than Boston and what would it look like?
Would Ainge be willing to move a second piece of his core and/or take back the unwieldy contract of Emeka Okafor to secure Paul?
Can you make an educated guess at what Ainge would attempt to do for an encore in the summer of 2012 if he could land Paul before then?
Thoughts below, please.