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Making sense of the Rajon Rondo-Chris Paul rumors

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  November 30, 2011 01:15 PM

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We'll start off with the reality of the situation, which is that making any trade in the NBA is very difficult, and that trading two stars such as Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul is even more difficult.

The Celtics are not close to dealing Rondo to New Orleans for Paul, a league source told the Globe's Gary Washburn yesterday, though there have been discussions about this trade in the past.

The notion that the Celtics would be open to trading Rondo has been out there, and realistically, any player can be traded at any time. The news that the Celtics might be open to trading Rondo is like saying water is wet. But the rumors kicked up again yesterday when ESPN.com's Chris Broussard said Danny Ainge would be open to kicking the tires on a deal for Rondo. Fair enough. Cue the "what kind of player could the Celtics get in return?" talk.

That answer came later in the day, when SI.com's Sam Amick said that Ainge has been trying to shop Rondo to the Hornets for All-Star point guard Paul. While Rondo is a top-10 point guard no matter your opinion of him, Paul is generally regarded as being ranked somewhere higher. Amick's source said the Hornets weren't necessarily interested in parting with Paul in a two-team deal.

Cue the third team rumors. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Ainge has contacted the Indiana Pacers as a possible third party, to see if they could provide better complementary pieces for the Hornets in a deal. According to the report, the Pacers also were trying to gather information on Rondo for themselves.

All of this leads back to a couple of key issues: The Hornets' desire to get something for Paul before he walks away at the end of this season, and the Celtics' desire to explore trade options for the talented-yet-obstinate Rondo.

Cue some very interesting basketball debate.

If inter-office debate among Globe reporters and editors is any indication -- or more broadly, discussion on the city's two sports talk radio stations -- fans are all over the map on Rondo. The young point guard's detractors bring up his inability to make jump shots or free throws consistently, as well as his stubbornness. His champions point out that fact that he's a young point guard -- an All-Star by 25 -- on a team-friendly contract, with a skill set unlike any other in the league. The lack of shooting is made up for by freakish athleticism, passing ability, and end-to-end defense.

One reply to this reporter's Twitter account notes, "No point guard in the league except Fisher and Kidd have more playoff experience. And he's just 25."

On Paul, there's the major question of whether he'd take a long-term deal in Boston. Current reports say he wouldn't at this point, which makes sense. He's going to be a free agent at the end of this season, and he's going to draw interest from every team in the league. Do you pull the trigger if you're only getting Paul for one year? If this team contends for a championship, could Doc Rivers convince Paul to stay?

Here's where you come in. Take our survey below, leave a comment, and watch the episode of Globe 10.0 above for more back-and-forth on the Rondo-Paul debate. You also can state your case for keeping/trading Rondo and see others' cases using our submit page.



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