Blakely: Celts, Paul willing to gamble on CBAMORE: Schedule highlights

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Blakely: Celts, Paul willing to gamble on CBAMORE: Schedule highlights

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics have no problem trading Rajon Rondo to New Orleans for fellow point guard Chris Paul without him agreeing to an extension, well aware that such a trade would come at the risk of giving up one All-Star point guard (Rondo) for another (Paul) who may be out of town in a New York City minute.

However, the gamble that the Celtics would be taking is no different for them than it would be for any other team - even his destination of choice, New York.

In one of the first noticeable changes under the yet-to-be-ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement, the new CBA will make players like Paul more reluctant to do extend-and-trades in the future.

That's why New Jersey's Deron Williams, in a similar situation that Paul is in, has made it clear that he will not be signing an extension with the Nets.

After word came out that Williams was opting out to become a free agent in the summer of 2012, he went to the one place where his voice apparently could be heard loud and clear by the masses - Twitter, of course.

"Don't know why people are tripping just because I'm opting out doesn't mean that I won't resign with the Nets!" Williams wrote. "With the new CBA it makes sense."

Under the new CBA, Williams could have signed an extension that would have made his contract worth about 70 million over four years.

By opting out and becoming a free agent next summer, he can re-sign with the Nets for as many as five years for more than 100 million - a 30 million bump for just one additional year.

So if you're the Celtics, there's no point in worrying initially about him being around for the long haul. Any team Paul gets traded to, will have to deal with him potentially leaving them with nothing to show but whatever production he provided during this shortened 66-game season.

The bigger issue for the Celtics is trying to convince the Hornets to accept a package that'll most likely include Rondo and restricted free agent Jeff Green.

In addition to those players, CBSSports.com reported that the Celtics also offered up two future first-round picks to sweeten the deal.

But as first reported by Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have serious competition for Paul's services coming from Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Both of those teams have young, established talent that the Hornets are more enamored with than a Rondo-Green package.

Boston counters with the potential for Paul to play with future Hall of Famers Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce which would give Paul a better shot at winning now, than playing with the Clippers or Warriors.

But this isn't about who he'll play with, or their chances of winning big. This comes down to the same thing that led to 149-day lockout money.

Paul wants to maximize his earning potential.

By passing on the security that would come with a contract extension to become a free agent in the summer of 2012, it serves as Paul's best shot at a nine-figure payday.

It's risky, for sure.

But it's no bigger a gamble than the one any team trading for him, would be taking.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”