Celtics willing to trade for Chris Paul even if he doesn’t sign contract extension, according to a report
The Boston Celtics are not one of the four teams ESPN reports are most interested in adding Chris Paul. But the Celtics are nonetheless reportedly willing to trade for Paul even if he does not sign a contract extension. (ESPN)
The Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks have shown the most interest in trading for Paul, according to sources briefed on the talks.
There is also a small handful of teams that has informed the Hornets they are prepared to trade for Paul with no assurance that they can keep him beyond this season. That list, sources say, includes the Rockets, Boston Celtics and defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
Each of those teams would be gambling that Paul would be won over by his new surroundings and either elect to play out the final season of his current contract (valued at $17.8 million in 2012-13) or opt out of his contract on July 1, 2012, and sign a new deal. Paul’s 2011-12 salary is listed at $16.4 million.
Boston would appear to have the most to offer in such a scenario if the Celtics are willing to include point guard Rajon Rondo, but sources say that the Hornets are convinced that they can receive more from any of the so-called gambling teams than from the Knicks, who are widely regarded as Paul’s No. 1 preferred destination.
I might think differently tomorrow, and I might flip-flop again the next day, but right now I wouldn’t do it. Rajon Rondo’s a top-five point guard. He’s one of the league’s smartest players. He improves by miles every season. He changes games defensively and he’s tougher than the rottweiler that ran straight through my fence last year. He’s not quite as good as Chris Paul, but he comes cheaper and he’s close enough to Paul’s level that trading for Paul as a possible one-year rental simply doesn’t make sense…
But if the Celtics somehow acquire Paul tomorrow, they’d have a full season to convince Paul to sign and a number of assets remaining to throw at Orlando (Dwight Howard, people!). I’m not saying Ainge should pull the trigger — I wouldn’t pull the trigger myself — but it’s a risk that could yield unfathomably high returns (Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, people!). Then again, it’s a risk that could allow Paul to walk and the Celtics’ cupboard to be bare after the 2011-12 season. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
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