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Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul.Late last week, ESPN.com's John Hollinger examined some potential blockbuster trades involving Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. While the Paul-for-Rajon Rondo speculation is likely behind us, here's one way Hollinger suggested a deal between the teams (one that would involve the Indiana Pacers) might work:
Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza to Boston; Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Emeka Okafor to Indiana; Brandon Rush, Darren Collison, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Glen Davis and Boston's first-round pick in 2012 to New Orleans.
We know that CP isn't gung ho about going to Boston, but consider this provocative question from our J.A. Adande: Would Boston rent Paul? The risk isn't as high as for some other squads: Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen both have expiring deals, and the Celtics could be in position to completely start over after this season even if Paul leaves, with only Paul Pierce under contract.
The other piece that needs to happen is Davis agreeing to a sign-and-trade; the LSU product would have a starting gig waiting for him in New Orleans, so I imagine he'd be amenable.
There's also a risk here for the Pacers, who would be cashing in most of their young-talent chips to get Rondo. Ideally they'd do this deal without the de facto Hibbert-Okafor trade, and I'm sure they're very reluctant to part with a rather talented young wingman in George. However, there are several combinations of outgoing players from Indiana that make this deal work (one that's intriguing: including New Orleans-raised Danny Granger), depending on the tastes of the Hornets and Pacers. I have to think they could agree on something if the basic parameters worked for all three sides.
While I think this deal is unlikely, Boston is the one team most likely to pursue Paul without a contract extension, and a three-way deal with Rondo is probably how it would go down.
Again, it's probably safe to move on from these rumors. But Hollinger's suggestion is somewhat thought-provoking. Even if Paul wouldn't sign an extension in Boston, would it be worth the risk (and future cap space) to investigate a one-year rental? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.