The Celtics, sources say, are currently presenting the strongest offer, which features Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and two first-round picks. As the Paul pursuer most willing to trade for the All-Star point guard with zero assurance that Paul will stay beyond this season, Boston is also trying to concoct multi-team scenarios that would help the Hornets come away with the package they desire for Paul, featuring at least one established veteran to help them stay relevant, one up-and-coming talent and draft picks.
The Hornets’ interest in Rondo is lukewarm at best, but one scenario in circulation would involve the Indiana Pacers and route former Hornets point guard Darren Collison back to New Orleans and land Rondo with the Pacers and Paul with the Celtics. Yet several other players would have to be involved to make such a deal work — with more established talent going to New Orleans — and there was no indication Wednesday that such a deal was close to completion.
CH: With the Clippers and Warriors unwilling to ante up Eric Gordon and Steph Curry, respectively, the current choices for the Hornets appear to be:
1) Accept one of Boston’s proposals.
There’s a nice bit of conspiratorial comedy waiting for us if Larry Bird’s Pacers end up facilitating a CP3-to-Boston trade. How many times have we heard about Kevin McHale gift-wrapping Kevin Garnett for his old buddy Danny Ainge?
2) Take a package from L.A. centered around Pau Gasol.
Chris Paul seems much more willing to commit long term to the Lakers than Boston but any assurances Paul provides L.A. would be of the verbal variety. He won’t sign an extension until July because, like most of us, he prefers to have more money than less.
Interestingly, his reticence for the C’s appears to be tied to his belief that Boston’s title window is closing rather than any particular aversion to cold weather or the city or the organization. Of course, he could extend Boston’s title window simply by re-signing. But I digress.
3) Bring Paul to camp on Friday and wait out the Clippers and Golden State in the hopes they’ll sweeten their offers.
This would turn the Hornets training camp into a rumor central circus, which is something New Orleans GM Dell Demps has been trying to avoid. But it may be his best course of action to maximize the return on his departing star.