Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
As free-agent forward David West and the Boston Celtics work to complete a difficult sign-and-trade deal, the Indiana Pacers have positioned themselves to sign the power forward should talks with the Celtics flatline on Sunday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Celtics have been discussing a four-year deal with West, sources said. Still, Boston is limited under sign-and-trade rules with how high it can go with an offer. The Celtics can offer the first three years in the $24 million to $25 million range, but the fourth year would likely not be fully guaranteed.
Several sources believed there would be a resolution Sunday.
The Celtics have discussed sending center Jermaine O’Neal, and possibly rookies E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, to the Hornets, sources said. For the deal to work, the Hornets need to find a landing spot for Jermaine O’Neal’s $6.2 million contract. That’s a difficult proposition for a 16-year veteran with a history of injuries, but New Orleans has seemed confident it can do so.
It would suck to be on the receiving end of a classic Bird steal, but it sounds as though Boston is West's preferred destination. The only way West ends up in Indiana, is if the Celtics deal collapses.
I wouldn't hestitate to include both rookies (JaJuan Johnson, we hardly knew ya) in the package. But who the hell is going to take Jermaine O'Neal? I'm surprised that there are only two teams seriously interested in David West. Are teams scared off about his health?
If West joins the Celtics, I'd pencil in him as the starting power forward and Kevin Garnett at center:
“Kevin’s going to play 5 (center) this year anyway at times,” Rivers said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if half his minutes are at that position. I’m not worried about that. I think that at this point in his career it’s not a bad spot for him.”
Part of that is out of necessity. Jermaine O’Neal is currently the only center on the roster, and it’s possible he could be dealt in the next day or so. Another factor: Garnett is just so good with the ball inside — remember his 28-point domination of the Miami Heat in Game 3 in last season’s playoffs? — that the Celts want him there more.
The idea of Garnett playing half his minutes at center scares me. But, aside from Dwight Howard, the centers for most of the contenders in the East are not bulky, low-post machines. Garnett can guard the likes of Joakim Noah, Joel Anthony, Al Horford, and Tyson Chandler.
Defensive rebounding will still be an issue for this team.
Related links: WEEI – Larry Bird vs Danny Ainge for West | Herald – O'Neal ready for anything | Globe – Ainge attempts to get Cs in scoring position | ESPN Boston – Center of inattention | CSNNE – O'Neal says it's a contender or quits | Garnett could be center of attention |
On Page 2, the likelihood of Chris Paul landing in Boston is slim.
The pursuit of Paul, meanwhile, will continue elsewhere. The Clippers and Warriors are likely to re-engage with the Hornets, although the NBA's messy methods in handling the Hornets are clearly a concern for any team with which they deal. It's unclear whether the Celtics can get back in the race, especially considering one of the principle pieces of their previous proposals — restricted free agent forward Jeff Green — signed a one-year deal with Boston on Saturday and can not be traded for six months.
Rajon Rondo is the only Celtic with value in this deal. Jeff Green cannot be dealt. Glen Davis is gone. Danny Ainge would have to abandon the pursuit of David West, throw in JaJuan Johnson and two additional first round picks. I'm convinced that would not be enough. Ainge could move another player (Ray Allen?) for assets that could be shipped to New Orleans. A move like that would be very complicated.
I'm not sure why everyone is surprised this deal fell apart. According to media reports, the second version of Lakers-Rockets-Hornets deal contained the same marquee players. The Lakers got pissed that the league would not allow them to fleece the Hornets and walked.
Related links: CSNNE – Celtics may reignite pursuit of Paul | Yahoo! – Lakers end Paul trade talks, ship Odom to Mavs | ESPN – Sources: Lakers out of Chris Paul talks | CBS – Lakers pull out of talks |
The rest of the links: