Recent rumors suggest that Chris Paul was a realistic option for the Boston Celtics during the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen era. With him in tow, there’s no doubt they would have been the league’s best squad.
Though it’s been rumored for quite some time now that the Boston Celtics were in the running for, then, disgruntled New Orleans Hornets superstar Chris Paul, former C’s big man Kendrick Perkins has now confirmed these rumblings to be true.
In an interview with Sirus XM Radio, Perkins discussed a point in time after their championship run in 2008 where the shamrocks had internal discussions about the idea of landing CP3 via trade to add to their already menacing lineup of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen:
“[It was the] 2008-2009 season where they came up New Orleans was – Chris Paul wanted out, I guess” said Perkins. “… rumors started to circulate and it was brought to the table that what if we trade [Rajon] Rondo and get CP.”
At this point in time, Chris Paul was coming off of a fantastic season with NOLA, guiding them to their first postseason appearance in four years –went to the Western Conference Semi-Finals — while the point guard received his first All-Star nod as he averaged 21.1 points, 11.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from deep.
As for the other player mentioned in this exchange, the 22-year-old Rajon Rondo was coming off a championship season as the starting point guard for the Celtics. While still young and raw, Rondo proved to be a very promising asset for the team, stuffing the stat sheet with 10.2 points, 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game throughout their title run.
Of course, as we all know, this deal never wound up taking place. However, now with Kendrick Perkins’ interview, we know a bit more as to why.
“KG and Paul (Pierce) were like, ‘no, we ain’t doing that. As great as CP is, we just won the championship. We’re rocking with [Rondo].’ He’s giving us everything that we need.”
He would later go one to say that, though Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett believed Rondo was enough for the team to continuously contend, the third cog in their big-3, Ray Allen, reportedly was not as keen on passing up the opportunity to land the Hornets star.
“Ray [Allen] was like ‘nah, let’s do it!’”
According to Perkins, Rondo would later find out about Allen’s acceptance of such a deal and, thus, began the rift we see between the two bleeding into today.
In regard to this whole situation in which the former C’s big man, I have to say I 100% agree with Ray Allen’s desire to deal for Chris Paul.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Rajon Rondo. Though it may not be the most popular opinion, I personally believe he will eventually make his way into Springfield and be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
He became a perennial All-Star during his time with the Boston Celtics and has proven himself to be one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen. With him at the starting one, the team constantly found themselves as a top dog in the league, seeing deep playoff runs, two trips to the NBA Finals, and, of course, attaining banner number 17.
However, having said all that, it must be stated that, while Rondo was a great point guard in his prime, by no means was he the type of player Chris Paul ever was.
The fourth overall pick from the 2005 NBA Draft has etched himself into the conversation as one of the 10 greatest point guards of all time.
Boasting career averages of 18.5 points, 9.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game on 47 percent shooting from the floor and 37 percent shooting from downtown, Paul has accumulated accolades such a 10 All-Star eight All-NBA selections, nine All-Defensive selections, six NBA steals leader champion, four-time league leader in assists and an All-Star Game MVP award.
Had they traded for him, the Boston Celtics would have rolled out a starting-five consisting of the likes of Paul, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and, presumably, Kendrick Perkins. With this reportedly being a realistic scenario, it very well could be one of the greatest “what ifs” in NBA history.
Attaining CP3 during this time would have been a clear upgrade to Rondo — no disrespect intended. With Paul leading the way, the Hornets became a perennial playoff team, one of which seasons saw them take the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the second round.
With the fact that he managed to guide a team consisting of second and third options like David West and Peja Stojaković to such heights — and in a much tougher conference –, it likely would have been a guarantee that he would have only benefited from joining a team with the likes of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen at his disposal out east.
Recently, we published an article suggesting that the 2000’s big-3 Boston Celtics arguably underperformed. Had they made a deal for the, then, 23-year-old Chris Paul, a piece such as this likely would never have been made.
This potential starting lineup would have easily made the defending champion Celtics better than they were the season prior. Though Paul has yet to win an NBA title, let alone play in a Finals, perhaps his fortunes would have been different had he been sent to Beantown to form the pre-Golden State Warriors super team.
At the end of the day, however, we live in this reality; one where Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers a few years later — though, even then the Celtics were in the running for him — and Rondo stayed put for another seven years until the organization shipped him to Dallas in their attempt at a rebuild.
Still, it is fun to think about how good this team they could have turned out to be and how many more championship they could have attained with Chris Paul in tow — One? Two? Three?….
At the very least, however, they would have without a doubt been the most menacing starting lineup for the next several years and, most likely, would have been the best team in the NBA.
But hey, that’s just a different reality!