Count veteran Ray Allen among those who can't believe West chose Indiana over Boston with such a slim difference in compensation.
"I'm shocked," Allen said. "I don't understand it."
West was a two-time All-Star for the Hornets, the first during the '08-'09 season when he averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds and 39.2 minutes a game. Paul lauded him as an unselfish player who was willing to do the "little things" to help the team win.
Allen first heard of West's potential interest in Boston last month when Allen was playing golf in Augusta with his private banker, who coincidentally also handled West's financial affairs.
"He told me how much I would love [West], that he and I were the same kind of guy -- cognitive thinkers," Allen said. "He said West was interested in coming to the Celtics and would be willing to come for less."
So why does Allen think West had a change of heart?
"Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in," Allen said. "He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to 'What is a championship worth to you?'
"Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We're still taking less to make it work. But it's worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, 'You guys never got your ring.'"
This is all part of a larger point that MacMullan makes about Boston's inability to lure free agents. A topic Chris Mannix also addressed yesterday.
Ainge worked his tail off to bring Chris Paul here this offseason, knowing that in the NBA you need a superstar to reach your goal. Ainge's best offer, in the end, wasn't good enough. With Dwight Howard likely heading to New Jersey, LA, or Orlando the Celtics future is cloudy.
...with Paul off the market and Dwight Howard expected to follow, either to New Jersey or the Lakers, Boston could well be left holding a big sack of cash with nobody to spend it on.
Maybe that's the best explanation of all why West isn't in Boston.