|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
The Boston Celtics, who already have one of the best point guards in the NBA, are interested in making an upgrade by acquiring the New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul and would be willing to give up Rondo to get him, sources have told ESPN's Chris Broussard.
The sources say the Celtics are having internal discussions regarding a swap of marquee point guards.
According to an SI.com report, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is "highly motivated" to land Paul. The report says the Hornets don't appear interested in a two-team deal in which Rondo and Paul would switch places. So Ainge has been trying to find a third team to get involved.
Paul can become a free agent after this season, so the Celtics also would have to convince him to sign an extension with them before giving up Rondo, who has four years and approximately $46 million left on his contract.
Boston is aware, as are many teams around the league, of New Orleans' desire to move Paul rather than go through what Denver did last season with Carmelo Anthony.
Paul was asked earlier Tuesday at a charity event in New York City about speculation that he could soon leave the Hornets.
"I try not to pay attention to all that different type of stuff," Paul said. "My heart is in New Orleans."
This would not be the first time the Celtics have looked into trading Rondo for another point guard.
After last season's playoffs, the Celtics offered Rondo and Jeff Green to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins, sources have told Broussard. The Celtics, looking for another scorer who can create his own offense, thought Westbrook might be available after his erractic postseason play. But Oklahoma was not interested in the deal.
Rondo averaged 10.6 points and 11.2 assists last season, while Paul averaged 15.8 per game (a career low) and 9.8 assists.