Celtics may reignite pursuit of Paul


Celtics may reignite pursuit of Paul

With the Los Angeles Lakers' three-way deal to obtain Chris Paul now dead, two league sources anticipate the Boston Celtics will at least "entertain" the idea of re-entering the Chris Paul sweepstakes.

However, with the heavy-handed manner in which the New Orleans ownership group - the NBA - has been thus far, the C's are not expected to push for Paul nearly as hard as they did earlier.

"Why should they?" one rival GM said. "Nobody really knows what to make of all this. Teams usually know going in what it takes to get a deal done. With New Orleans now, no one is really sure."

The Hornets had a three-team deal agreed upon this week with the Lakers and Houston Rockets, that would have netted them Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, backup guard Goran Dragic from Houston, along with a future first-round pick, and Lamar Odom from the Lakers. Houston would have received Pau Gasol in the deal.

However, the league killed the deal for what NBA commissioner David Stern cited as "basketball reasons."

All three teams were then sent back to try and work out another swap that would have apparently netted the Hornets more assets.

The Lakers reportedly pulled out of the deal, and now have their sights set on acquiring Dwight Howard who has made a request to be traded. They are also reportedly on the verge of sending Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks.

For the Celtics, it all means that the door to acquiring Paul is once again open. But there's no sense as to whether Boston's last offer for Paul - Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and a pair of future first-round picks - will be enough to satisfy Hornets General Manager Dell Demps or more important, Stern.

And if you're Boston, you would think New Orleans is even more motivated to move Paul now after this fiasco, and the next offer from the C's may not have to necessarily be as good.

These are the times when Boston's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, earns his pay.

With extremely limited resources, he has already put together a lineup that includes Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling in addition to re-signing Green for one year.

Having an opportunity to add Paul is very tempting, obviously.

But any deal for Paul at this point will likely need a third team.

"Good luck with that one," said one front-office executive. "This is a mess; a big old mess. I don't see how anyone is going to come out of this thing feeling good, or looking good."

Kind of like the 149-day lockout?

"Exactly," the same source said.