Ainge, the sources say, has recently discussed trading Rondo in a deal that nets Paul, but the Hornets don't appear interested in a two-team deal in which Rondo -- who has four years worth approximately $46 million left on his contract -- and Paul would switch places. So Ainge has been on the prowl for a third team that could provide the sort of young pieces Hornets general manager Dell Demps would covet as part of his possible rebuilding plan. The more pressing question, of course, is whether Paul, who can become a free agent after this season, would consider signing an extension with Boston.
While ESPN reports that New York tops Paul's wish list because of the chance to form a Big Three with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, Paul would have a chance to take the Big Four -- joining Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen -- to a new level in Beantown. Without Paul agreeing to an extension, however, the sources say Ainge will not do the deal.
Intriguing as the Celtics possibility might be, the challenge for Ainge would be selling the 26-year-old Paul on the idea of joining a group of future Hall of Famers with an average age of 35.
I'm pretty surprised that the Hornets don't want Rondo. Do they really think they can do better? Did they see the drudge that Denver got for 'Melo? If I'm the Hornets I snag Rondo up quick. He could end up being the better player for the next 10 years and he'll cost about half as much. For these reasons, I'm not so sure why Ainge is so willing to get rid of him. Sort of a moot point anyway. Chris Paul isn't going to agree to an extension with Boston until he knows for sure that he can't pull a 'Melo and end up on the Knicks. So all this talk does is show Rondo that he's unwanted by his general manager. Then again after Rondo's best friend Kendrick Perkins was traded last season, I'm sure Rondo knows not to expect too much loyalty from his boss.