Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul, two of the game's best point guards, if not the best. Rondo, a lifer with the Boston Celtics, and Rondo, a lifer with the New Orleans Hornets, have had their names tossed around in numerous trade rumors over the years, only to see nothing come of it.
Once again, they've had their names tossed into the rumor mill - this time for each other.
Rumors began to swirl on Tuesday night that Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge was pushing hard to acquire Paul from the Hornets in exchange for Rondo, although he will likely need to bring in a third team in order to complete the deal.
In this case, it would behoove Ainge to make this deal happen, any way possible. While Paul and Rondo are probably the two top talents at their position, and both are All Stars, they both have one major difference that sets them apart.
Paul can shoot and score consistently. Rondo simply can't.
At this point, the scoring will become an issue soon for the Celtics. Pierce and Allen have proven to be more than capable scorers in their careers, but everybody gets old and eventually wears down. It's only a matter of time for them.
When this lockout-shortened season comes to an end, it's possible that both Kevin Garnett and Allen could be gone, leaving the C's with one main scoring option - an older Pierce. And as much as we all love The Truth, that's not enough.
Acquiring Paul would certainly help to make the transitions smoother. A productive Paul on the offensive end would help create more shots for Pierce and take some of the pressure off him, hopefully allowing him to thrive as he eases towards retirement (and the Hall of Fame).
Rondo and Paul are more comparable on defense, where both are solid, and Rondo might even have an edge. But there isn't enough of a difference to say that going from Rondo's defense to Paul's would be troublesome.
There is also the argument that Paul would help the Celtics land Dwight Howard, who will likely leave the Orlando Magic at the end of the season and has said he'd like to play with Paul. While one player might not be enough to completely sway a player to one team or another, but you never know. Paul's the better player, and having better players can't hurt.
If the Celtics can't find a way to deal Rondo, it's not a loss at all. You still have, well, Rondo - one of the best guards in the game. But teams should always be attempting to improve, and Paul is clearly an improvement over the status quo.
When you look at every angle, it's really a no-brainer for the Celtics. The trouble will lie on the New Orleans Hornets side, where they will likely try to sap every last bit of value they can get out of Paul, as they certainly should. At the moment, it appears this potential deal will hinge on the ability to find a third team to deal with.
If I were in Ainge's shoes, I'd do everything I could to get it done. His job might depend on it.