As the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors appear unwilling to include their young stars in a trade for Chris Paul, the New Orleans Hornets were redoubling their research of Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo as a possible centerpiece of a blockbuster deal, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Celtics have relentlessly pursued Paul and have presented the Hornets with as many as eight different scenarios that would bring them some combination of Rondo, Jeff Green, two future No. 1 picks and additional talent from third teams, sources said.
Like I was saying last night. Don't like a rumor? Wait a few hours and it will change - just like the New England weather.
Last night the report was that the Celtics had moved to the "back of the pack" because of Chris Paul's reluctance to stay in Boston long term. This morning, the Celtics are suddenly in the front of the pack with the Lakers - at least according to ESPN.
It seems that the Warriors and Clippers are still reluctant to part with their biggest chips and the report has Golden State all but out of the running. Check the link for the full story but here's the part that seems most cut-n-paste worthy.
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.
Although sources say Paul continues to express no interest in a long-term stay in Boston, Celtics GM Danny Ainge is apparently convinced that trading for Paul now to try to make one more title run with the aging star trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen is a no-brainer gamble. With the contracts of Garnett and Allen expiring at season's end, Boston would have sufficient salary-cap space to not only try to retain Paul but also pursue a second young superstar to play with him.
We've known for a while that the Pacers were a likely team to tag team with us on this. They've got the cap space to absorb a bad contract - like say Emeka Okafor for example. It might be worth giving up Collison and taking on Okafor in order to net them Rajon Rondo. For New Orleans, they would get some immediate cap space (there were rumors of them actually finding a way to jump into the Nene sweepstakes if they were able to clear enough space in time). It might not be the ideal deal they are hoping for, but at the end of the day it might be the best one they've got.
Update: It sounds like Danny is working hard to give the Hornets as many options as they'd like to chose from. So it may not be limited to the Pacers.
As usual, we'll keep you updated. If you don't like these latest developments, check back later and I'm sure they'll change again.
Update: Another source claiming that Boston isn't in CP3's desired locations. Via the Herald
A source who has spent time recently with Paul insisted yesterday that the Hornets star considers the Celtics a non-starter for his career, and has no intention of signing an extension to play with the C's in the long term.
The team is simply too old to stir his interest.
"Their window is just too short for him," said the source. "He looks on them as having one year left to do something, and that's it."