The Boston Celtics have royally screwed up. They have allowed Danny Ainge’s fascination with Chris Paul to develop into full fledged rumors. Everyone in Boston is talking about a trade that will never happen. Get it out of your system right now Boston fans, Chris Paul will not be wearing a Celtic uniform anytime soon. Why? Because, Chris Paul has no desire to be a Celtic.
Paul has announced that he will not re-sign with the Celtics even if he is traded. Paul can opt out of his contract next year, and can become a free agent if he so chooses. This “opt-out” clause is Paul’s greatest weapon in terms of negotiations because it can effectively negate any deal that Paul is unwilling to go through with. If Paul is traded to a team he doesn’t want to join, he can just leave after the season. Nonetheless, Paul has his sights set on the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, where he hopes to join forces with fellow superstars Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Trust me, Celtics fans, this time next year we will be booing Chris Paul as he strides into the Garden proudly sporting his true colors; the blue and orange of our rival New York Knicks.
On the other side of this rumor lies two-time NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo. Rondo is one of the top point guards in the NBA, and the Celtics seem to lack appreciation for his accomplishments. Despite his stellar defense (two NBA All-Defensive First Team selections), his will to win (2008 NBA champion), and his ascent to superstardom (two NBA All-Star selections, and counting) Rondo has been unable to escape the Celtics’s trading block. The Celtics need to embrace the fact that they have a young point guard who will continue to be the face of their franchise for years to come. They need to stop looking to replace a young player who is already recognized as being elite. By the time the Celtics stop searching for Rondo’s replacement, he may have decided to leave on his own. If he does, the Celtics will regret letting him go for a very long time.
And why shouldn’t Rondo leave? The Celtics clearly do not appreciate him enough. If they did, they would stop trying to deal him and focus on improving their front court. Can you name the Celtics’s starting center now? I can’t. Also, if the Celtics really appreciated Rondo they wouldn’t have disrespected him with extremely low offers during his contract negotiation. If the Celtics think they can adequately replace Rondo they are delusional. Not only is Rondo an All-Star caliber player, but he is the face of the Celtics’s franchise, and a beloved citizen of the city of Boston.
I am convinced that the Celtics are doing everything in their power to improve their team. They need to win this year. The window of opportunity for the Big Three will slam shut this spring. After this year, both Ray Allen’s and Kevin Garnett’s contracts expire. Allen and Garnett have a combined 31 years of NBA mileage on their legs, and one if not both of them may retire at the end of this season. Even if the Celtics can find a way to keep both of them, they are old and their skills are diminishing rapidly. Again, I think the Celtics recognize these issues and they are trying their best to improve their team. They are simply going in the wrong direction with their improvements. Rondo is the one who they need to keep and build around. They should focus on adding role players for their bench because this may very well be the end of the current Celtics nucleus. This season will be the most exciting basketball season of my life, because this is the Celtics last shot at a championship with the big three. This year is for all the marbles. I just hope when all is said and done, Rondo is a part of it.