Why Chris Paul would be a game changer for the Boston Celtics

Chris Paul could join the Boston Celtics in free agency if the Wizards buy him out -- and the Hall of Fame point guard would fit in Boston perfectly Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Paul could join the Boston Celtics in free agency if the Wizards buy him out -- and the Hall of Fame point guard would fit in Boston perfectly Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Well, Boston Celtics fans, the first blockbuster deal of the offseason has set the NBA world on fire with the Washington Wizards shipping Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul and Landry Shamet, along with multiple second-round picks and pick swaps. The Wizards also sent Jordan Goodwin and Isaiah Todd to Phoenix as they officially commenced their rebuild.

Unless a third team joins the trade, Paul will likely negotiate a buyout with Washington and hit free agency. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal has not yet reached completion as Washington is still fielding offers from third teams that may show trade interest in the Point God.

Assuming the first-ballot Hall of Famer ends up with the Wizards, Washington is expected to buy Paul out for a whopping $30.8 million. Such a payday would add to career earnings upwards of $350 million, and the veteran point guard would be well-positioned to sign with a contending team on a minimum contract.

According to various sources, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as primary frontrunners in the CP3 sweepstakes. However, Paul will have his pick of the litter and could pursue a slightly different route in his ongoing quest for a title.

Enter the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics should pursue the all-time great without hesitation

Paul still promotes ball movement as well as anyone in the NBA. Last season, the Suns finished third leaguewide in both assist percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio. They also finished fourth in total team assists.

In his 18th season, the floor general averaged 13.9 points and 8.9 assists across 59 contests. While Paul missed 23 regular-season outings and finished the playoffs on the sidelines, his age and durability concerns would not pose as large of a problem to a Boston team loaded with talent and versatility at the guard position.

In a scenario where Boston convinces Paul to choose Beantown in free agency, the Celtics would be expected to part ways with reigning Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon. Paul would likely come in and replace Brogdon as Boston’s backup point guard with more than enough playmaking upside to find his way into the starting lineup. Either way, Paul would certainly close out many games with the starters thanks to his undying ability to dish and handle the rock.

At their best, the 2022-23 Celtics steamrolled opponents with elite ball movement and 3-point shooting. However, isolation basketball reared its head for them at the worst times this postseason, causing their consistency and shot quality to dwindle too often.

Some of Boston’s offensive struggles stem from the team’s reliance on Jaylen Brown as a high-usage ball handler. Despite Brown’s undeniable scoring prowess, he still has room to grow in areas such as ball handling and playmaking. For this reason, the Celtics could benefit from a player like Paul to take some of these responsibilities off of Brown.

In the playoffs, Jayson Tatum often becomes Boston’s primary ball-handling option at the top of the key. No matter what defensive coverage teams throw at him, he is a deadly scorer and distributor in such scenarios. Even so, his running mate Brown still boasted a top-12 usage rate in the league last season with a 30.7% mark. This level of Brown usage doesn’t make much sense for the Celtics, given No. 7’s strengths and weaknesses as a player.

While Tatum has made leaps and bounds as a playmaker, he could also use a break from some of his ball-handling duties. That’s where Chris Paul can really turn the tide for Boston’s unpredictable half-court offense.

The Boston Celtics’ top stars have never played with a point guard like Chris Paul

From Kyrie Irving to Kemba Walker, Boston has often surrounded their superstar duo with score-first point guards. Marcus Smart just had himself a nice playmaking campaign, but his 5.1 assists per game this postseason don’t exactly measure up to Paul’s dime-dropping wizardry.

While most of Boston’s current guards have the ability to make plays for the Jays, none of them can run a set offense the way CP3 can. For that reason alone, the Celtics should make their strongest pitch possible to Paul and his agent.

At the end of the day, the Point God will have all the power in deciding where he goes in the event of a buyout. If he wants to finally win his first championship, his best shot could come from chasing a ring in Boston.