Post-game Reactions

The Celtics are one of three teams still pursuing Chris Paul, according to multiple reports.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

…the Celtics stepped forward with an offer that would not have to come with any commitment from Paul that he’d re-sign with Boston after the season. According to a person familiar with the discussions, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo, two future first-round picks, and restricted free agent Jeff Green in a sign-and-trade for Paul.

The impetus behind the Celtics’ potential rental offer for Paul was intriguing: Come to Boston, take a shot at winning a title with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett while the window is still open, and then have enough room to entice Dwight Howard to come on board as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Garnett and Allen come off the books July 1, leaving the Celtics with only $30.4 million in committed salary for next season, when Howard can opt out of his contract with Orlando.

Though Paul has never expressed a desire to play in Boston, if he liked his new surroundings and the Celtics’ chances of luring Howard, he would be in a championship-contending situation and could get his max deal of five years, $100 million six months after the trade.

The other two teams pursuing Paul are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors (with the Dallas Mavericks appearing the darkest horse of the serious contenders). The Clippers are featuring a package that includes Eric Gordon, RFA DeAndre Jordan and draft picks and Golden State is dangling Stephen Curry and considering signing Paul’s free agent friend Tyson Chandler to entice him to stay long term. It should be noted that the Hornets prefer Curry to Rondo and the Clipper package is probably the most impressive of all right now.

That explains why Ainge has also reportedly pursued a trade with Golden State state with Rondo and Curry as the principles, with a likely intent to flip Curry to New Orleans for Paul.

New Orleans GM Dell Demps may call in final offers as early as Friday to avoid the specter of a season-long cloud hanging over the Hornets, the way the Carmelo Anthony saga lingered in Denver last year.

Whether Ainge is capable of getting hold of Paul or not, a few things are increasingly clear:

1) Ainge is more than willing to move Rondo for an upgrade. He’s made overtures to at least two teams (OKC and New Orleans) since the end of the 2010-11 season and it’s fair to assume he’s looking for a stronger building block for the next Boston era.

2) The plan has always been to trade for Paul and use him to lure Dwight Howard. This falls into line with the Celtics’ organizational philosophy, which is to build a team of multiple all-stars, headlined by a top-50-of-all-time player. This is the paradigm they used when acquiring Kevin Garnett (top-50 all time) and Ray Allen to go with Paul Pierce.

Paul and Howard may both eventually end up top-50-of-all-time players.

3) No matter what happens between now and Dec. 25, this Celtics roster could undergo some major upheaval before the trade deadline. Assume for a moment that Paul is dealt to one of the west coast teams. If that happens, the smart assumption is that Ainge is still thinking big, and willing to make a bold move if it positions the franchise well for next season and beyond.


UPDATE: Later reports, including this one from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Broussard, indicated the Clippers have not included Gordon in the trade proposal, and that the package includes Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu. If Gordon’s off the table permanently, Curry becomes the real prize for New Orleans. That may be the case even with Gordon included. Rondo’s clearly not at the top of their wishlist.

If you are hoping to see Rondo moved for Paul, take heart in this: of the three teams in pursuit, only Boston seems comfortable taking Paul back without a contract extension and he’s granted no such assurances he’ll agree to one. This is unlikely to change, especially given the financial benefits Paul would gain by waiting until the summer of 2012 to sign a new deal.

More, inevitably, tomorrow.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • Morpheus

    Danny absolutely has to trade Rondo now. I hope he realises that. This is the umpteenth time Danny has dangled Rondo around in the off season. IF CP3 falls through, he better have a Plan B in mind.

    • Ryan DeGama

      Honestly, plan B is probably "expect Rondo to act like a professional until he can move him".

      Might take awhile.

      • Kricky

        "expect Rondo to act like a professional until he can move him".

        in other words there is no plan B

        • llemur

          why the hell they cant talk privately?!?!

    • ripsonics

      i absolutely agree. the kid is a head case as it is, and will be so upset that he was supposed to be traded and then wasn't, with the possibility that he still could be, looming. IF DA wants to salvage a season, I honestly believe he has to trade rondo before its too late.

  • redcon

    this tells me 2 things Bradley is really seen as a big part of the celtics future and rondo has reached his ceiling in Danny`s eyes.
    i`ll say this about rondo he is a very unselfish player as far as assist with the ball but he has a immature streak and he doesn`t really try to help the younger pg`s develop being very territorial about his position most of bradley`s improvement during the season he credited to Arroyo and West

  • Kricky

    As a guy that lives in the Bay Rea and has observed the Warriors for quite some time, I am sure the Warriors are dumb enough to take Jeff Green.

    That means we could trade Rondo and Green for Curry and then send him (and Picks) to NO for CP3.

  • ripsonics

    Not to mention that we play New Orleans on the 28th of december… Even if Rondo isn't traded.. that game is going to be pretty good. Rondo will want to prove that he is the best PG on the floor. WOW.

  • kingdingaling

    trading rondo would be a good thing, 1: it would the scoring load off of PP if we had cp3. 2: cp3 is a WAY better 3 point shooter. 3: cp3 is also a leader so when shit pops off atleast we cant count on him when the REAL big 3 retire( ill be sad when that happens). and 4: DWIGHT HOWARD coming to BEAN-TOWN 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I_Love_Green

    Sign an extension and I'm fine with it. If he's not signing an extension, there's no way you do it. Danny isn't THAT big of a gambler right? RIGHT?!?!

    • Here’s my take…Danny knows that middle of the road NBA teams never really get better. So by going all in for CP3, he’s ensuring that the Celtics either get really awesome (if CP3 and Howard both sign) or get really awful and rebuild using awesome draft picks. Plus he’s ensuring one more year of contention for the big three. I actually like this maneuvering.

      • dslack

        Yup. And frankly, as much as I love Rondo (how can you not love a guy who stepped back on the court after dislocating his elbow?!), this line of thinking makes sense.

  • I_Love_Green

    Danny is gonna have to pull off something really creative if he wants to beat the Warrior's offer. Curry/ Udoh/ Klay Thompson for Paul is the reported offer right now. Thats a sweet deal for both teams.

  • C Pride

    This is ABSOLUTELY the worst situation for the Celtics. All star PG for a selfish All-star PG….why is everyone stressing CP3….he hasn't proven crap….and what makes you think he can mesh with the Big 3. Rondo makes it easy for them to score but yet that is overlook for a PG that is selfish enough to let the Celtics trade away the future just so he can run to the Knicks to have his love affair with Carmelo start next year. I dont wanna go back to the dark Celtic years and that is exactly what would happen if that trade was to occur.

    • dslack

      I don't think he'd split for New York. They wouldn't have enough cap space to make a max offer.

    • The Wilfork Way

      I love rondo just as much as you do but how can you say CP3 is selfish on the court? Paul was selfish a few years ago before he 2 other veterans he could trust. CP3 had no choice but to be selfish.

      When opponents need to cover him tight all of the sudden Ray is at it again. Provides for more open shots across the board.

  • ElRoz

    If he considers GS Warriors – that means he has no interest in a title…GS is fun to watch, but cannot go and win a playoff series right now. Clippers actually might be a better destination than GSW…but Boston would make the most sense for 2012 at least.

    • If we did a three way deal and GS came up with Rondo, he would fit in on that team really nicely. Open floor style point guard who also plays great defense to keep Mark Jackson happy…but I really just want Rondo to end up in a good place if Boston trades him. I love his game a lot.

  • Mark B

    How about they just trade for Steph Curry.. kid killed it with average to below average supporting cast and ballhog Ellis. Imagine the looks hes getting.. or for that matter, the spacing he'll provide the big 3… yikes.

    • ripsonics

      i think they tried for curry ( so that they could send him to NO for paul ) but they said no… So even if we wanted just curry, it probably wouldnt happen.

  • tbunny

    Rondo, Green, two first rounders seems a very high price for a player they could lose after a year.

    • los

      exactly. I'm fine with Rondo and sending Davis. The team needs a boost to contend this year. But these draft picks may prove to be too valuable especially considering they are in the first round of a LOADED draft class. The C's could potentially end up with a late lottery pick. I don't think it's smart to trade in the teams future for a player who is probably gone at the end of the year.

    • Harrison

      Rondo doesn't make it easier for Paul and Ray to score, where the heck did you get that crazy idea. Rondo's defender is always DOUBLING those guys. Chris Paul would make it easier for them to score because he can penetrate and draw the D, and he can shoot. Those are two things Rondo can't r won't do. (1.5 ft per game last year, 25% 3pt)

  • Ryan DeGama

    I've posted an UPDATE at the end of the original story. The plot thickens and swirls.

    How on earth did we get through the summer and fall without this kind of stuff?