With the top NBA free agents all signed up with their new teams, Chris Paul's desire to leave the New Orleans Hornets has suddenly taken center stage. Conventional thinking has the most likely suitors as New York (who would pitch a 2011 acquisition of Carmelo Anthony), or perhaps Orlando, where Dwight Howard is lobbying ownership to make a move. However, as Bill Simmons pointed out, there is a way the Celtics could make the Hornets an offer they almost cannot refuse.
Boston has the hammer offer if they want to make it: Rondo, Perkins, Sheed's ghost, No. 1 + 3m for CP3 + Okafor. NO has to say yes to that.
The numbers might have to be fudged some with cheap contracts to work in the cap, but acquiring Chris Paul in any way would be an exciting possibility for Celtics fans. On the other hand, when you start talking about Rondo in any deal, it bears some serious scrutiny.
Barring some injury or serious chemistry problems it seems likely that Chris Paul does give the Celtics the best chance to compete in the next two years. Celtics fans often like to talk about how good Rondo could be with a consistent jump shot. Well, Chris Paul is kind of the answer to that. He passes, he scores, he rebounds, he steals. He is undoubtedly the total package, and could give the Celtics the boost they need to really contribute to a championship run in the East.
But what about the future? Chris Paul is big money, and will be for the next couple of years until he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012 (2013 if he picks up his option). While this does leave the Celtics about where they expected to be cap wise after 2012, the problem is that they would lack any sort of a core to build around other than, presumably, an aging Paul Pierce. There aren't going to be any real instant fixes in the near future like this years group had. You can't simply pick up LeBron and Wade with all that cap space. Instead of looking at a new core, the Celtics would be looking at basically a fresh slate rebuild, hoping for lottery balls to give them the franchise player they really need after a truly awful rebuilding season. And if we do have to take on Okafor's large contract? Say goodbye to .500 from 2013 to 2014 at the least.
The Paul Pierce deal aside, the Celtics have done a good job of walking the line between contending and rebuilding. They've set themselves up to have cap space and that necessary core in a couple years, while still keeping the core together with the possibility to add more thanks to Rasheed's contract. Add in Paul's injury concerns, and the already unlikely Paul-to-Boston trade doesn't really make sense for the Celtics in the first place.