With the NBA rumor mill making up for over four months of lost time in the past couple days, speculation has run rampant from a variety of sources about Danny Ainge’s willingness to deal Rajon Rondo in a package for Chris Paul.
Like the Celtics’ deal for Kevin Garnett back in 2007, any deal for Paul would have to come with a long-term extension for the top point guard, in order to justify the hefty package (Rondo signed at a reasonable contract plus more) Ainge would be giving up. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, that is something Paul would be unwilling to do:
Chris_Broussard: Let CP3-to-Boston chatter cease. CP will not sign long-term ext with Celtics, according to source close to situation.
A few quick thoughts on this new development that may put an end to a lot of the Rondo-Paul rumors for the time being.
I’ve read a lot of people so far comparing this reported development about Paul, to Kevin Garnett initially refusing to sign a extension with Boston back in the summer of 2007. “Give him some time, Paul will come along to signing in Boston, just like KG did,” you might be thinking.
There’s a big difference though in these circumstances. Why did Garnett eventually come around? Because the Celtics traded for a perennial All-Star at the 2007 NBA Draft in Ray Allen. When you are surrounded by two All-Stars, it’s tougher to say no at that prospect for winning and max dollars and that’s exactly why KG changed his mind back in that summer.
Currently, unlike 2007, Ainge does not have the trade chips to deal for a player of the caliber of a Ray Allen, in addition to Chris Paul. Now obviously there is more current talent on the roster to surround Paul in the Big Three then back in 2007 when Ainge was trying to sell KG on Boston, but besides an aging Pierce, it’s unclear just how long the others will be there. The long-term future for Boston now may look just as bleak now to an outsider as it did back to KG in 2007, (pre Ray Allen trade).
Let’s break this down even further. Fast forward to this current scenario with Paul. Say somehow, Boston is able to work a three-team deal, landing them Paul and giving up Rondo. Moving forward after this season, that would leave Boston with a signed core of Pierce, Avery Bradley, and likely Boston’s two rookies, along with the other bench players Danny signs to long-term deals this year.
Is that an attractive situation if you’re Chris Paul? Sure, the Celtics would have the option to bring back Allen and Garnett (if he doesn’t retire) at shorter money, and a lot of cap room to bring in one of the prizes of the free agent market (hello, Dwight Howard).
What makes the Celtics so sure though that Howard would want to play here with Paul? And beyond some backchannel tampering a la Wade-Bosh-LeBron, how could all the necessary parties be in on this plan to make Boston an attractive destination for all of these players.
Instead, the very likely scenario is, while the Celtics would love something like this to happen, they have no way of getting it done, not now anyway. They would essentially need Paul to recruit his superstar friends to sign here after Paul himself signs an extension, and why would he do that, if he can do it somewhere else he prefers as a location?
Without another star to pair with Paul and an aging Pierce, Boston’s ceiling is probably a 2nd-round playoff team moving forward. So unless Mr. Ainge can do a masterful job on selling the city of Boston to Paul and his friends, he’s left with very little to go on here in regards to landing the stud point guard. Plus, I have major doubts over whether Boston could even put together the best package compared to other teams to land Paul (something I’ll have more on later today).
Four more years of trying to build around Rondo may be the consolation prize for Ainge. It’s not the worst scenario in the world, but it will sure be a lot more challenging than doing it around CP3. The bigger question now we may have to ask with all these rumors floating around, is if Ainge is beginning to give up on building around Rondo altogether? Or is this all nothing more than trivial speculation about dealing the C’s All-Star point guard?