The Celtics have engaged the Pacers in trade talks for Rajon Rondo in an attempt to get hold of the pieces necessary to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.
The news, reported early Wednesday morning by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, gives us a clearer picture of what Danny Ainge is attempting to do with his roster: recast it long before the summer of 2012.
The Pacers and Celtics have discussed the preliminary framework of a deal, but two sources said Indiana would need a third team to provide Boston with the talent it wants to do a deal. The Celtics are likely trying to gather the necessary pieces to make a bid for Ainge’s ultimate target: New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, sources said.
It was unclear if the Pacers had begun to reach out to broaden discussions, but there was an expectation they would do so.
The report comes on the back of the revelation that following the 2011 playoffs Ainge offered Rondo and Jeff Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins.
Additionally, you may remember that back in 2005, in the wake of a Paul Pierce playoff meltdown against the Pacers, Ainge nearly traded his future finals MVP for a draft pick that would have become Chris Paul.
It’s more clear than ever that Ainge is ready to move on from Rondo, who he doesn’t appear to see as a foundational piece of the next Celtics era. It’s also reasonable to assume that he doesn’t consider his current roster a legitimate title contender, when supplemented only by the spare parts he can afford on the free agent market.
Of course, the prospective transaction is gathering the kind of complexity that could undo it. Ainge has to gather trade pieces from Indiana and an unnamed third team and then turn around and complete a deal with New Orleans, which will have more than one suitor for Paul’s services. With that many moving parts and what is shaping up to be a very active market over the next week, Ainge’s options could change quickly and he and Doc Rivers may again have to placate their mercurial point guard and send him out dressed in Celtics green.
But it certainly seems like the Rajon Rondo era in Boston may soon be coming to a close.
One way or another.