With the NBA now appearing to be on course for a Christmas Day tip off, teams around the league are frantically attempting to fine tune their rosters for the upcoming 66-game season.The Celtics are among those looking to make a move. The most recent news to come out of the league’s rumor mill is a potential trade of star point guard Rondo. The Celtics have reportedly been attempting to gauge Rondo’s trade value over the past year, but no deal was ever close to being made. This time it may be different. According to sources, the Celtics have been in talks with the Indiana Pacers, however, no Pacers players have been named as possible compensation.
What appears to be the Celtics’ goal is to pick up the necessary players to make another deal with the New Orleans Hornets for their star point guard Chris Paul. Paul, a free agent after this season, will almost certainly be traded before the trade deadline as he is likely to sign elsewhere this summer and would walk away from the Hornets without any compensation.
It is perhaps his pending free agency that is the biggest obstacle for the Celtics. Paul has stated that he would like to join the New York Knicks and play alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to form yet another “Big Three.” With Paul’s desire to go to New York, it will be difficult to convince him to sign an extension in Boston, especially to join a team that currently appears to be on the decline.
But if the Celtics were to somehow convince Paul to sign it would instantly improve the team’s chances at raising an 18th banner this season for one simple reason; his shooting ability.
Don’t get it wrong, Paul is a true point guard who distributes the ball as well as anyone in the NBA, but he also possesses a weapon that Rondo doesn’t. When the Celtics struggled in recent years, part of the reason was their opponents’ willingness to leave Rondo with room to shoot in exchange for positioning an additional defender to cut down his passing lanes. They knew that if they gave Rondo space to take a long jumper he most likely wouldn’t be able to beat them. Paul can, and will. If teams employ the same defensive strategy on Paul as they did on Rondo the results will be much different. As a result, teams will be forced to tightly cover the point guard, leaving more room for the Celtics to move the ball and find the open man.
It is probably a pipe dream, as it appears that Paul is a lock to join the Knicks in a year, but crazier things have happened. After all, did anyone truly believe that Kevin Garnett would be a Celtic before the deal was complete?