Trader’s remorse much, Mr. Ainge? How else do you explain what we’ve heard in the past 72 hours? ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard reported last night that after the playoffs last season, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, a clear concession from Boston GM Danny Ainge that the Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins deadline swap was a major misfire. Ainge got played. Badly. The trade offer was quickly rebuffed by Sam Presti.
Now Ainge is looking to upgrade once again, this time offering up Rondo to the Hornets for Chris Paul. Ainge is also reportedly looking for a third trading partner to sweeten the deal for New Orleans.
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In 2007, Ainge’s friend and former Celtics teammate, Kevin McHale handed Kevin Garnett in a cute little red bow agreeing to trade Al Jefferson, four bums and two low first-round picks for the future hall-of-famer. The lopsided deal resulted in a world championship in 2008 for Boston, the Celtics’ first NBA Finals win since 1985-86. Since then, Ainge has fancied himself as a GM mastermind. When my mom gives me 50 bucks for gas money, I don’t walk around like I’m an oil tycoon.
Ainge is looking for another blockbuster to offset last year’s deadline debacle. But without the safety net of a friend as a trading partner, he simply comes off as desperate, overcompensating and overreaching for a superstar to win some PR points.
Trading for Chris Paul when the Celtics have so many other needs is a major mistake. Number one, financially Rondo is a bargain. He will make $10 million this year, and is signed through the 2014-2015 season, when he will make a reasonable $13 million. This season, Chris Paul will make $16.3 million. Ray Allen, KG and Jermaine O’Neal come off the books next season. I would rather build around Rondo for less.
Two, sources indicate that CP3 is unwilling to sign an extension if he is indeed traded to Boston. Why? Well, he probably sees what everyone sees — an aging team with no center and lack of an identity. Plus, he is being courted by his superstar friends in New York, LA and South Beach.
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Three, if the trade does go down AND he is willing to sign an extension, the new CBA established harsher restrictions on extend and trade deals. Paul would only be allowed to sign a one-year extension to his current contract (valued at $18.5 million). That would put him right back on the free-agent market in the summer of 2014. Are the Celtics willing to deal for Paul knowing he could bolt so quickly? Zach Lowe of SI.com delves deeper into the CBA and extend and trade deals, specifically regarding CP3 and Dwight Howard. I recommend it. Paul loses a significant amount of cash by agreeing to an extend and trade deal.
Four, the NBA currently owns the New Orleans Hornets. This is the same NBA that preached NBA parity throughout the NBA lockout. Would David Stern really trade New Orleans’ ambassador to the game just as the season gets under way? I just don’t see it happening.
Five, thanks to Ainge trading away their defensively minded 7 foot center, the Celtics have a glaring need for young big men. Ainge tried to piecemeal the center position with Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal. This failed miserably. Shaq played in 37 games last season, Jermaine just 32. Trading Rondo is the lazy way out of this. Ainge found a quick fix in the Garnett deal. He won’t get that when dealing Rondo. Basketball players can become better shooters. Rondo is 25. Strap him to the gym and force him to become a better all around player.
Look, Rondo can’t shoot. I get that. Your point guard must shoot better than 56% from the line. According to Hoopdata.com, he only shot 27.6% on shots from 3-9 feet, a crime in some states. He averaged 10.6 points and 11.2 asts, last season and he raises his game to top five point guard status in the playoffs, averaging 13.8 pts., 8.5 asts., 5.8 rbs., a game. Is Chris Paul an upgrade? Yes, slightly. But not for a second do I believe a point guard swap gets the Celtics any closer to any NBA championship.