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The next Celtics/Lakers battle is looking like it will take place off the court as both teams are eyeing the Chris Paul/Dwight Howard combo. Mark Heisler (a Sheridan Hoops writer) reported yesterday that the Lakers want both Paul and Howard. Presumably they'd trade Bynum for one and Gasol for the other. It was also reported yesterday on RealGM that the Celtics will pursue Dwight Howard. Then today we hear that Ainge is open to trading Rondo. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that in order for the Celtics to acquire both superstars they'd have to trade Rondo for one and then use their 2012 cap space on the other.

While personally I think Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo would make a great combo, I don't think Danny Ainge feels the same. Ainge has attempted to trade Rondo a handful of times in the past and I don't believe he views Rondo as a team centerpiece. The only problem that I see a Rondo/Howard combo posing is that neither can make free throws at the end of a game. Not sure if you can get away with your two best players having to avoid the ball the final two minutes of a game. With Chris Paul you wouldn't have that problem. Personally I would rather the Celtics pay Rondo 9 million a year than Paul a max contract (whatever that may be now, 16 million? 17 million?), but if swapping Rondo for Paul is the price you have to pay to land Howard, then that's a pill you have to swallow. 

While the Celtics might want the combo, the Lakers are in a better position to get them. Not because they have more cap space, but because they play 41 games a season in Los Angeles, California (well in a normal season). Howard's first choice is to move to L.A. He also has said Kobe Bryant is the one superstar he'd most like to play with (He'd regret that within 2 weeks of playing with him as Howard's touches would go way down). Then while Chris Paul's first choice is New York, it is believed that L.A. is his second. Fortunately for the C's, players can't always get what they want.

The Lakers don't have the cap space to outright sign either player. The Magic loathe to give in to Howard and trade him to L.A. and go through another Shaq situation. The NBA actually owns the Hornets and after wasting 5 months arguing about the need for parity are they really going to sign off on a Kobe/Howard/CP3 threesome?

Right now this is the early stage of the Howard/CP3 great escape, but expect to hear a lot more as the season moves along. And soon. Both the Hornets and Magic need to move their stars in season in order to max out what they can get for them. The winner of this Celtics/Lakers showdown could determine whether the Celtics remain the winningest NBA franchise or the Lakers overtake them.

JR 11/29/2011 10:49:00 AM Edit
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24 Responses so far.

  1. tb727 says:

    This is a terrific article, one of the best ones you have ever written. And a lot of validity to it (I actually read the entire thing). You know I'd be giddy obtaining Paul since I feel him with the current Celtics could beat Miami and the Flakers and still win it all. But you're correct in that Paul wouldn't likely sign an extension with Boston unless he knew Howard could be obtained.

  2. Felicia Quesadilla says:

    Voluptuous

  3. Anonymous says:

    if la got howard and paul the celtics would never be better than them :/. ainge has to make a big move. n.y and l.a are going after superstars and mia is getting another star. the celtics just won't be able to compete if their star player is rondo.

  4. kassie says:

    Why can't Ainge be grateful for what we have. Rondo is a star PG, we are lucky to have him on the team.

  5. LXander says:

    I'm a diehard Celtics fan from L.A. and a big fan of Rondo but as much as I don't like it, anonymous's commet is on point. ^^^^

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is better than the mello drama

  7. pinsla says:

    this is boring

    can we go back to the lockout and BRI talk??:)

  8. Karl says:

    Do what you have to do to get Paul and Howard. Outstanding article

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lets go Mitch pull the trigger,get rid of bynum, and Gasoft....Lets go Howard and Paul and Kobe!!!

  10. Connor says:

    Alright I understand this. I wouldn't mind giving up Rondo if it meant getting Howard. You sign Chris Paul and Dwight Howard right. And then you go and trade Rondo for Josh Smith. That way you have a PG, SF, and C for the future.

  11. Reean says:

    ^^ buddy calm down lol, you just said trade rondo for howard then for Josh smith, Okay look if that happens you get

    PG-CP3
    SG- Unknown
    SF-Jeff Green
    PF- Perry Jones (Please god 2011 draft)
    C- Howard

  12. Benti says:

    This get could fun... and I agree that trading Rondo for Paul or Howard is a great move.

  13. Bohemian says:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3llzrah
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

    Very good article. Let´s go for it and try and get both players.

  14. Bohemian says:

    Sorry, second trade idea:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3dnnkjp

  15. Anonymous says:

    dwight is stayin!and we are gettin paul!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    go magics! pg;paul,sg;reddick,sf;jrichardson,pf;bass or free agent!,c; howard!! championship for sure! all u guys is beggin for howard to leave the magics,but lets see kobe leaving the lakers, ray allen and kg leave boston!!so shut up and stop tryin to pressure him in leaving!!!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    It would be good 4 the C's but honestly this is how it will probobly play out; CP3 will be traded 2 the NYK 4 toney dougless, turiaf, money ext... D12 will be traded 2 La 4 bynum,odem/gasol,and shanon brown then next year La will sign D-will, I'd hate 4 it 2 play out that way but speaking with my head instead of my heart thats how it probobly happen:/

  18. Anonymous says:

    dwight would probably leave but I hope he stays in orlando even though I'm a celtics fan. the problem with these players is when there in the last year of there deal they say they will sign an extention if they bring me some help, but nobody like daron williams or cp3 will go 2 orlando if dwight only has one year left on his deal. if dwight signed a 4-6 year deal then cp3 or williams would be forced to go to orlando. if cp3 goes 2 the kniks and dwight stays in orlando wear else would daron get help? I doubt he join the c's (to old) I doubt he would join the lakers (kobe to old) but wait!!!, orlando has a center in his prime better join him. c'mon superstars!!! GeT SMART!!!!!!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Danny is a lil special, why would he wanna trade rondo

  20. Three Toe says:

    Good god some of you guys are mental.

    We are one of those teams that can't afford shit right now, just so we are clear. We aren't getting Paul or Howard without trading Rondo+something or allen+something. Personally I don't see why you'd trade Rondo because this team needs someone to get them the ball. They are old, they aren't outpacing, outhustling, outmuscling people. They NEED a good point guard to deliver the ball, and Rondo knows where these particular players expect it. I see the "celtics want CP3" stuff as merely driving up price and demand on other teams, and I approve.

    The only thing I can see making sense here is Allen and something for Howard, because a strong and defense-oriented center would work wonders. Then you go out and find some cheaper veteran shooters to poorly recreate Ray Allen (everything's a trade-off). I see Howard's lack of FTP as a drawback as JR mentioned, but with a better point guard like Rondo, a lot of the FTA will be after made baskets, so those misses hurt less. Not saying it's the best idea, but it seems like the only way either of these guys are coming here.

  21. Anonymous says:

    FUCK THE CELTIC FANS HERE!
    Lakers all day, everyday!!!
    We getting them no matta what!!!
    #FuckBoston

  22. Anonymous says:

    Rondo+J.O.+Green for Chris Paul. Next offseason, clear the hold roster save Chris Paul. Offer Howard the best deal. Re-sign Pierce, Allen & KG for lower salaries (they'll accept as veterans who want one more chance to win. Re-sign Bradley, Arroyo, E'Twuan Moore and JaJuan Johnson. Then pick up free agents and minimum-salary parents to round out the roster. With both of our upcoming draft picks, we just need to find 2 more players (1 C, 2 Fs, 1 G). And VOILA! We have a good balance of talent for the future and bonafide veterans.

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