Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:28 pm
By Matt Moore
It's good to be on top.
The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in a three-way deal with the Houston Rockets. Los Angeles trades Lamar Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston, while the Rockets send Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to New Orleans.
The Lakers missed the NBA Finals by two rounds last year, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks. They watched Chris Paul destroy them in the first round, showing some of their weakness. So they went out and got him. They have acquired the best point guard in the NBA, their best point guard since Magic Johnson, and gotten a premier All-Star in his prime to pair with Kobe Bryant on his way towards the sunset.
The Lakers are clearly not done, and will continue to pursue a deal to trade Andrew Bynum to the Orlando Magic to bring Dwight Howard and create their own big three, arguably a better one than the one in Miami. It's an arms race in the NBA, and the Lakers have the biggest budget and most capital to use. And so they have responded to all this Knicks-Heat-Chicago nonsense with their own move, after helping kickstart the race three years ago by acquiring Pau Gasol from Memphis. They're one move away from checkmate.
In the interim, the team did lose a lot of talent. Pau Gasol has flirted with "best big man in the game" for the past three seasons prior to last spring's meltdown. Lamar Odom is a hyper-athletic, versatile veteran who has been a part of three Finals teams and two championships. Neither on the right side of 30, but both still have a lot of value left.
And yet, the takeback is staggering. CP3, in his prime, to provide Kobe Bryant with the clutch guard he's never had. Even in losing their frontcourt, leaving them with a gaping hole at power forward, and even without a trade for Howard, the Lakers now feature Chris Paul able to lob to Andrew Bynum and kick to Kobe Bryant. And for Paul, whose knees are a question mark, to have Bryant to handle the ball and take the load off, he may have extended his career by four seasons.
For Bryant, it may be a rough transition giving the ball up. But it also means no more wondering about his teammates. There will be no outraged glares at Paul. He won't blow defensive assignments. He won't miss Bryant when he's open. Instead, if Bryant is open for a half-second inside, on the wing, or at half-court, Paul will find him. Bynum also comes away big in this deal. He's never had a guard to work with his insane athleticism. Bynum on the pick and roll, rolling to the basket for an alley-oop? It's Paul, the master of the alley-oop, dishing it now.
Do the Lakers have holes now? Absolutely. Starting with power forward, the length they've enjoyed inside to disrupt passing lanes and tip-in misses is gone, even with Bynum still in place. They've lost a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and they're just as weak at backup center as ever. They've lost a lot of scoring, a lot of rebounds, a lot of defense. But they gained one of the top five players in the league and have positioned themselves expertly to add a second if they can lean on the Magic enough. With or without Howard, if you pull a deal to get the best player in the league at his position (Derrick Rose is not a point guard, he's a Derrick Rose), you get an A.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:32 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 4:04 pm
By Matt Moore
So there's kind of a lot going on right now in terms of Chris Paul. It's extremely likely that he'll still be a Hornet when camp starts Friday, and very likely that he'll still be one when the season starts on December 25th. But there has been such a deafening cacophony of intelligence (or absence thereof, depending on your view of the media) regarding who is in the Hunt for Paul, that we need to keep an eye on things.
Update 4 p.m. EST
Ken Berger confirms an ESPN report that the Warriors talk has cooled Wednesday afternoon because the Warriors will not include Stephen Curry in the deal. Which is odd since Curry is a point guard in this league and why would you need CP3 and Curry? Curry can play the 2, he's got the range to be sure, but it would be such an odd fit to have two primary ball-handlers. Meanwhile, the Contra Costa Times/Inside Bay Area.com reports that the Warriors are willing to take on Paul without an extension (or assurances thereof, if the Hornets will take Monta Ellis instead of Curry. Ellis is a fine player but he has $22 million left over the next two seasons and another $11 million in an Early Termination Option year for 2013-2014. Kind of a trick for the Hornets to take on that salary.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Tuesday night that the Clippers had made a substantial offer, including a sign-and-trade for restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan, but that Eric Gordon was not included.
Since then, the Warriors have gotten into the act. Here's the latest on the CP3 Chase.
Sports Illustrated reports:
But while Yahoo! Sports reported that Paul indicated the Clippers and Warriors could increase their odds of landing him long-term if they signed free-agent center Tyson Chandler, a source with knowledge of the situation said Golden State had not received that message. The Clippers, meanwhile, have no interest in signing Chandler, Pauls former teammate in New Orleans, because of their plan to re-sign restricted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan.via Warriors, Clippers, Celtics lead race for point guard Chris Paul - Sam Amick - SI.com.
So if the Clippers aren't giving Gordon, and they aren't giving DeAndre Jordan... what exactly are they giving? Because Al Farouq-Aminu is one of my personal favorite young forwards, but he and Eric Bledsoe along with the Minnesota pick aren't going to get it done. The whole reason the Clippers are in conversations is because they have more to offer New Orleans, not because they're some power franchise, even with Blake Griffin. There's simply no way the Hornets sacrifice Paul for that kind of package, no matter how good the 2012 draft class is. At that point, taking the Knicks' offer might be better for the cap savings. The Clippers are going to have to step up if they want to get the best pure point guard in the NBA.
Next up is the Warriors, and there's confusion about whether one of their guards is included as well.
SI.com in the same link as above says that the Warriors' offer for Paul include point guard Stephen Curry, young big man Ekpe Udoh, and rookie Klay Thompson. But, much like a high-school drama, ESPN says...
Sources said that the Hornets have actually been trying to convince the Warriors to part with Curry since before last season's trade deadline in February. But the Warriors could only stomach the inclusion of Curry if they knew Paul would extend his contract as part of the trade or at least commit to invoking his option for the 2012-13 season. According to sources, Golden State has received no such promises.via Free Agent Reports - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.
The issue here is that teams seem to not be aware that under the new CBA, the only way for Paul to get the most money and years he can is to opt-out and then re-sign. That's the only way for him to get the fifth year. It's going to require a leap of faith no matter what. If he goes to your team, and you win, then he re-signs. If you don't, then you need to go in a different direction anyway. But it's worth the shot. You're not going to get Paul with an extension. Not after the deal your owners pushed for.
Meanwhile the Rockets keep desperately trying to worm their way into the conversation. They have the best talent. But it won't happen. From Yahoo:
The Rockets would offer some combination of Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Patrick Paterson and draft picks.via Clips, Warriors, Celtics in Paul trade talks - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.
Dallas is also mentioned, which is interesting. Jason Terry and Jason Kidd would be $18 million expiring in 2013, and they could offer Roddy Beaubois or Dominique Jones.
No one wants to make the premium offer or Paul. This is the problem when this stuff gets leaked. The Hornets can't get a deal fast enough before teams exert leverage using the fact that Paul won't re-sign in New Orleans. It's an impossible position for them.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:36 am
By Matt Moore
Here we are, once again. A small market team reportedly held hostage by their franchise player All-Star and his desire to be traded to the specific team he wants, or else he'll simply depart the home team in free agency, leaving them with nothing. Carmelo Anthony hijacked Denver's season last year, and now Chris Paul is reportedly in a position to do the same to New Orleans. Except when Anthony applied extortion to get his way to Broadway, the Knicks actually had assets to trade to Denver, including Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and Raymond Felton (who eventually became Andre Miller and a pick).
The Knicks now? Not so much.
The Hornets face an impossible position shold they elect to trade Paul. The teams that have the kind of assets to make the trade worth it if Paul elects to state he will only sign with the Knicks (which as Ken Berger notes, he has not done yet) have the kind of market cache to not need to make such a desperate move, or have no shot at a championship and therefore no reason to risk it all.
A team with young players and picks won't waste them to rent Chris Paul for a season, only to watch him walk out the door. After all, there's only one New Jersey Nets out there. (Kidding, Nets fans! D-Will says you're still under consideration!) And teams with superstar talent like Boston or Los Angeles don't have to gamble to win a title. They can just wait on the next superstar available (or just go after Dwight Howard).
So as it stands, the Hornets have no alternative. They'll just have to take whatever the Knicks are offering. There's talk of just letting Paul walk to avoid the embarrassment of taking on the Knicks' garbage heap, but that's nonsense. You don't accept a loss when you can have a gain. Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas and a pick in 2045 is better than nothing at all.
But... there is another option. It's outside the box. You're going to think I'm nuts. And I'm not prone to posting about trade ideas. There's another site with a trade machine. You can fill your day with moving every player in the league. Everyone partakes from time to time. But this concept? It's the best possible move for both teams.
Orlando needs to trade for Chris Paul.
Hear me out before you close this browser as fast as humanly possible.
The Magic have every reason to trade for Chris Paul without the promise of an extension. With no consideration of the extension, there's nothing to hold up a deal. The Magic are facing the same cliff the Hornets are, staring down the barrell of Dwight Howard's big-market shotgun. They are burdened with pieces which hold no value once Howard is traded. If Howard leaves, they will wind up with a huge amount of salary and no superstar, a terrible team with a supporting structure holding up nothing. They have two options. Win a championship this year or give up and trade Howard for nothing now. Even a move for Andrew Bogut as Berger has said will be discussed won't keep them in title contention. That's what Howard means to a team. That's what an MVP candidate means.
So the only thing left, as the movie quote goes, is to win the whole friggin' thing. (OK, that's not the line, but it's a family site.)
The Magic would trade some combination of Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, Daniel Orton, and Jameer Nelson to the Hornets for Paul, along with a first-round pick in 2012. That's right. The Magic could lose both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013 and have no first-round pick. Disastrous-sounding, I know. Here's why they do the deal.
Here's the best case scenario. Howard and Paul,playing with another star, the best at their position, along with the supporting pieces in Orlando which would still be better than what the Knicks are likely to trot out onto the court (I'd like to remind you that Jared Jeffries started at center in the playoffs for the Knicks), would likely have the best seasons of their careers if healthy. Versus the trio in Miami or the duet in New York, Howard and Paul are a combination of players who actually mesh together. The best pick and roll center in the league with the best pick and roll point guard. A hyper-efficient perimeter shooter with a center who draws doubles every time on the block. A ball-hawking point guard who can create steals and the best defensive presence in the league. It may not be better than Miami or L.A., but it would be a force to be reckoned with. One season to make a run at the title.
This is the reality of the new NBA. If you want to win a title as a small-market, you have to find lightning in a bottle. Maybe there's no way to even that gap thanks to the inherent draws of bigger markets with more flashbulbs, television appearances, parties and endorsement offers. But if you don't have a once-in-his-lifetime talent and get absurdly lucky along the way, this is your best shot. Mortgage everything on one season.
If it works, and the Magic take home the title, the Paul and Howard will have gone through the transformitive process of winning a title together. Fans in Orlando will worship them. Howard will have done what Shaq never has. And they'll be staring at the possibility of not playing together next year. Even if that's not enough to get them to stay, it'll make them think twice. It's Orlando's best shot. There can be no more "really, Dwight, we'll get it right next time" with Howard. His patience has run out. If they don't win the title, there's no chance he returns. There's little chance even if they do, but it's their best shot, and if they win the title, they get that forever. You can't take that title away from the fans, away from the franchise, away from the team.
And if it doesn't work, if they don't win the title? That's over $34 million in cap space expiring for Orlando. Along with the amnesty of Gilbert Arenas, that's $54 million. That's nearly the NBA salary cap they would be gaining in cap space. The typical response to that is "what does it matter, no one will sign there." From that point on, the objective is not to bring in free agents, it's to rebuild through the draft. That 2012 pick missing is a problem? Not really, because Paul and Howard could give 50 percent effort (something they would never do) and still win 40 games, even in the East. The Magic won't have a lottery pick regardless. Which means the pick holds no value to them, but quite a bit to New Orleans. The Magic would be in premium position to tank in 2013, then rebuild through the draft. It's not appealing. You know what's less appealing? Trying to rebuild with Andrew Bynum's decision making, knees, contract, and nothing else. The key when your title run is over is to start over as completely as possible, as quickly as possible. This plan lets them out.
But what about New Orleans? Jameer Nelson, with $15.6 million remaining over two years? Brandon Bass with $8 million? J.J. Redick with over $12 million? What's the upside for them, along with a pick that won't be good? For starters, it's better than what they'll get from New York. It lets them avoid being bullied by the Knicks for nothing. And it's not about what those players give the Hornets, it's what they bring individually on the market. A team in need of a power forward who can score? Bass is a great pickup for a cheap draft pick and an expiring. Teams in desperate need of a shooter? J.J. Redick. Starting point guard gone down with an injury? Call up the Hornets. Jameer Nelson is on the block. It's a flip project. You don't get the pieces to start over, you get the pieces you can use to get the pieces to start over. It's the best way to do exactly the same thing the Magic would be doing. Tanking to start over and hopefully get that All-Star Hall of Famer who doesn't adore the bright lights.
This lets them both out of the pain, it gets the gun off of them. It gives them the dignity. Orlando gets to contend for one more year, the Hornets get to start moving forward now. The Magic go all-in, the Hornets fold and save their chips for a time when the flop doesn't come down so wretched.
Big markets are squeezing the talent out of small markets. But those small markets get to decide how it goes down.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:43 pm
Ken Berger joined the Tim Brando Show on the CBS Sports Network Thursday to talk about the trade rumors that continue to swirl around Dwight Howard before his 2012 free agency. Berger says that Howard is interested in the Los Angeles Lakers should he choose to leave Orlando. Ken breaks down the scenario in the above video. But what stands in the way for L.A. is owner Jim Buss' favoritism towards Andrew Bynum. Should the Lakers surrender Bynum in order to win now with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant? Is it time to give up on the Bynum experiment? The window is open for the Lakers. All that stands in their way is the Bynum Dilemma.
By Matt Moore
Jim Buss made the call to draft Andrew Bynum for the Los Angeles Lakers. As he has worked his way towards taking the reins from father Jerry in running the most successful (at least profit-wise) team in the National Basketball Association, one thing has been clear. Andrew Bynum is his guy. In May, Bynum was described as "untouchable" in trade talks by Yahoo Sports. Longtime Lakers scribe Roland Lazenby described how the younger Buss was setting up Bynum as the future of the franchise. It was thought that any talks of Dwight Howard following in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps yet again by going from Orlando to Los Angeles, the kind of market his ego and commercial appeal craves, would be dashed by the Lakers' firm support of Bynum as the franchise of the future.
But Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday night that all could be changing:
It's no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team's strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum "for the right deal." That's code for "a deal for Dwight Howard," and it's clear from those familiar with Howard's thinking that he'd like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic's list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks. The Bucks' Andrew Bogut may be a better fit, a notion that has conjured speculation in the agent community of a three-team deal that would land Bynum in Milwaukee, Bogut in Orlando and Howard in L.A.via Post-Ups: Free agency signing days away, but frenzy exists - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.
And so the Lakers are faced with the Bynum Dilemma. Do you abandon the stud of the future (and more assets) to win now with the pieces you have from a two-time championship team? Do you give up Bynum when he's just 25?
For years, Bynum has been talked about as being elite before his time. His potential has been there. The metrics to indicate his readiness has been there. But I've remained skeptical, wanting Bynum to establish himself as what he's talked about. There are too many question marks around Bynum, starting first and foremost with his injuries. Multiple knee surgeries in his early years leave an incomplete picture of his long-term health. More concerning than the injuries, though was his reaction to those injuries. He sought out his own doctors, took longer than expected each time with rehab, and was found to be partying his way through most of his recovery time.
And yet, he was a huge part of why the Lakers won their second title, and a huge part of why the Lakers were still the favorites to win the West last year. He improved on both ends of the floor. If Greg Oden was the injured star young center whose defense was ahead of his offense, it was flipped with Bynum, and he started to show more at both ends. His aggressivenes took the form of a near-recklesness, including the time he accidentally gave Gerald Wallace a collapsed lung. Bynum has shown to be willing to give the hard foul, to use his body to intimidate other players. He gives Dwight Howard his toughest challenge outside of Kendrick Perkins and the Boston defense.
But there's a flip side to that as well. His actions border upon dangerous, as evidenced by fouls given to Michaael Beasley and most notably a blatant cheap shot to J.J. Barea in the Mavs' sweep of L.A. leading to a suspension for Bynum to start the season. Dwight Howard racks up the technicals, and has been known to throw an elbow or four, but this kind of behavior is not his bag.
There's no question Howard is better right now. He's an MVP candidate, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, maybe the most influential player on the floor at both ends. But to acquire him, the Lakers would have to surrender the new head honcho's big project, his pet player, the icon of the next generation of Lakers greatness. They'd likely have to surrender more assets like picks (they won't use), and supporting players (they don't need).
However, this is the Lakers. They never seem to need the same things other teams need, like draft picks, cap space, or stockpiled talent. They simply find ways to reload based on the attractiveness of their market, the mystique of their logo, and the savvy of their management. Surrendering Bynum would be a hard pill to swallow for the son trying to make his own name, set his own legacy. But it could also lead to the Lakers extending the title contention of Kobe Bryant until he's 40, and render the luxury tax meant to withhold the Lakers' spending in the new CBA moot, between an even stronger popularity with Howard and their new television deal which pays them $5 billion over 25 years.
Also, it should be noted Bynum has just two more years left on his contract. In 2013, should the answer as to whether Bynum will ever fulfill his promise still have a mixed answer, the Lakers would be looking at a max contract (as they already set that precedent for him with his last deal) for a 27-year-old with the same litany of issues as currently. If the next two years are his rise to dominance, great. If not, the Lakers will have wasted a shot at Dwight Howard's prime and be forced to weigh the answer as to whether and what to play Bynum.
So the answer to the Bynum dilemma is this: the tantalizing potential does not equal the assurance of dominance now. Bynum has million-dollar athleticism, on bad wheels with faulty operating software. Jim Buss may want to make his own name with his own path, but he would do well to remember what has always made the Lakers great. Demanding excellence, now and always.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:25 pm
Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We start our Pop Quizzes with this question...
What's the value of Chris Paul?By Matt Moore
Over the next... however long it takes for the question of Chris Paul and where he plays next season to ge answered, there's going to be a common reaction to people regarding trade proposals. It goes something like this.
"What? They can't trade Chris Paul for (X player, X player, Y pick)! That's not nearly as good as Chris Paul!"
And all of these measures miss the point.
Should the New Orleans Hornets decide that the battle is lost and it's time to start over by trading Chris Paul, there is nothing they can get back that will be of equal value to him. There is nothing they can get in return that will eventually be better than him. There will be no offer that will result in analysts, fans, and bloggers, including those that work here saying the Hornets won the deal. It is impossible. You never win trading a star. You never come close to winning by trading Chris Paul.
Which is why so many will advocate against trading Paul. But the only reason to make such a deal is if the game is already over. At that point you can't be looking to compete, to make the playoffs, to keep your season ticket holders happy or to keep them at all. You are looking to restart. It's a reset button on the franchise, and it could cost the city of New Orleans its team. But if that's the decision you reach, that means you've explored every option, considered every trade, made every attempt at acquiring a free agent, done all you can. It's over, Paul will be headed to a bigger market, and you simply have to evaluate what you can get.
There's a misconception that in a trade, you have to get back equal value to justify it. But that's a little bit absurd. Stick Chris Paul with a series of offensive weapons and you're going to have one of the best scoring machines in the league thanks to his vision, skill, and ability. Stick him on the Milwaukee Bucks and you have a great defensive team that's better on offense but still not good because it doesn't matter if Paul is dishing to people who still can't hit the shot. More importantly, getting back Derrick Rose doesn't help your franchise much (and no, Bulls fans, no one is saying the Bulls would trade the MVP, just roll with me here) if you have no one to help him out. The lesson is that bringing back talent does not equal talent lost. There's a plan to a franchise, or at least there should be, and a decision like this means you start completely over. That's how the NBA works.
That's the hard part, really. It's not figuring out what assets, because you only have so many partners, because no one will trade for a player who doesn't want to play for them. From there it's just details. The odds are very high that most of the players the Hornets would trade Paul for will be gone within three years. It's also highly likely that both the GM and coach who help orchestrate the trade will also be gone. That's how the NBA works.
So if you want to capitalize on this as an opportunity, as damaging as the effects are, you don't try and determine what Chris Paul means to your franchise, because it can't be calculated. You don't try and measure his impact on the team, because you can't. You don't try and formulate how to return even 50 percent of what he provides the Hornets, because there is no such math. You simply try and put yourself in the best position to draft the next Hall of Famer that comes your way, to be able to add talented players around him immediately, and to hope the next time that player doesn't feel like those streets will make him feel brand new or that the big lights will inspire him.
What's the value you look for in trading Chris Paul?
The quickest way to forget you lost him.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:59 am
By Matt Moore
And just like that, another swing in the momentum. As rumors of Rajon Rondo being traded from the Boston Celtics in their pursuit of acquiring Chris Paul hit a fever pitch, ESPN.com is reporting that Paul will not sign a long-term extension with the Celtics, which is supposed to shut off any further discussion of a trade.
Except that under the terms of the new CBA, this gets a bit more complicated. If Paul were to agree to an extend-and-trade with the Celtics, he would be limited to just a three-year extension, only two after his option year next year. That's a remarkably short contract for a player battling a knee issue looking for the big pay-off contract. If he were to be traded to Boston, he would have to wait six months to sign the full extension, which is only for four years. Conversely, if Paul were to enter free agency, whatever team he was playing for athe end of the season would have his Bird rights and could re-sign him to a five-year contract, the most he can get. Any other team, like, say, the New York Knicks (since their acquisition of him during the season is unlikely), would be able to sign him to a four-year deal. In short. signing an extension now makes zero sense.
But at the same time, we have a precedent set, and that precedent does not bode well for the Celtics. When Carmelo Anthony launched his covert (OK, it was louder than a C-130) plan to get to New York last year, the Nets were interested. And maintained interest. And kept pitching. But early on, reports surfaced that Anthony would not sign an extension with the Nets. They kept trying and trying, but Anthony maintained that the only team he'd sign an extension with was the Knicks. Eventually, that's where he was traded.
Now we have reports saying Paul wants to go to New York, and the Celtics trying to talk him into coming to Boston, including trying to acquire more assets to help a deal along. And now there's a report early on that Paul won't sign an extension there. Boston is, in no way, New Jersey, but the pattern is still alarmingly similar. Might be time for the Celtics to go back to their usual line of "We love Rondo, we'd never trade him," despite all indications to the contrary.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:56 am
By Matt Moore
This is starting to get out of hand. Teams are officially allowed to contact agents only starting Wednesday (though they've been talking back-channel for days), and already the rumor mill is spiraling out of control at full speed. On Tuesday it was the Lakers wanting to pursue Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, the Celtics wanting Paul, whether or not the Knicks can pull off grabbing Paul, the Nets pursuing Dwight Howard via trade. And now we can throw another one on the fire.
The Celtics are serious about getting Chris Paul. And since their straight-up offers didn't work, they're now trying to acquire pieces the Hornets do want in order to turn around and move for Paul. Boston's biggest trade chip is Rajon Rondo, and suddenly the new team interested in acquiring the All-Star point guard is... the Indiana Pacers?
From Yahoo Sports:
As Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge aggressively pursues possible deals for Rajon Rondonotes, the Indiana Pacers have emerged as an intriguing suitor for the point guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.via Pacers talk with Celtics about Rondo deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.
The Pacers are not kidding about wanting to upgrade and make a run. Darren Collison is a young, versatile point guard with a world of upside and ability, who coincidentally (or not) learned under Chris Paul his rookie season. But Rondo is obviously an upgrade. The Pacers have Danny Granger to move as well, who has been on the block for years. A young center in Roy Hibbert, their own picks to move, and Paul George are also among the assets the Pacers have to offer in some combination for the mercurial Rondo.
The Pacers may have a package of assets the Celtics would want, or more accurately, the Hornets would want. But for this to go anywhere, the Hornets have to be open to the trade of Chris Paul, and there's been no indication that's the case. Dell Demps and Monty Williams will have to establish whthe they're willing to give up on the franchise player and if so, at what price.
But it's painfully clear that the Pacers want to upgrade, and that the Celtics want Paul. Training camp hasn't even started and already the player movement talks are running in the red.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:22 pm
By Matt Moore
The Boston Celtics are looking for one more title run with this group of All-Stars.
And they may be willing to sacrifice one of the Big 4 to get there.
In the ESPN report detailing Chris Paul's desire to join the Knicks, no matter how difficult that may be, another piece of info slipped in. This time, it was about the Celtics, and specifically, Rajon Rondo. From ESPN:
While Boston is not shopping Rajon Rondo, it would be open to trading him in the right deal, sources say. The Celtics feel they need more scoring to take the load off Paul Pierce.via Chris Paul and New York's hopes - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.
It's not the first time it's been suggested that Rondo could be on the block. He's consistently been mentioned as being included in talks, despite being one of the perennial league leaders in assist rate. Experts still have their doubts about him because of his inconsistent shooting and volatile personality. But there are some repors which indicate that this just isn't going to happen.
The Celtics moving Rondo would be more likely to occur in a move to acquire Chris Paul from the Hornets. With their projected available space in 2012, assuming they don't break the bank on Green or re-sign any of the big three to a massive extension, they should be in line to nab at least one major free agent, especially if Paul Pierce retires or is given the amnesty. A trade featuring Rondo, the Clippers' protected pick they acquired in the Perkins trade, and pieces might make Boston a great fit for Paul.
But it should be clear, the Celtics' management still believes very firmly in Rondo and what he's helped them accomplish. It's unthinkable that a point guard of Rondo's caliber would be traded, but that's the environment we operate in when Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are (potentially) on the market.