Boston Celtics

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.

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

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NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.