Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had long coveted Chris Paul before landing him this past offseason. In fact, he almost traded Paul Pierce for the star point guard during the 2005 NBA Draft.
Morey was working under Danny Ainge in the Boston Celtics’ front office at the time, so it wouldn’t have been solely his decision. But a deal was very close.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan originally reported that Morey and the Celtics attempted to acquire Paul in her profile on the nine-time All-Star published earlier this season. MacMullan was a guest on The Lowe Post on Wednesday and provided even more detail on the situation (via ESPN):
“If the Celtics could have done it, they would have. This is how close it was: I worked at the Boston Globe then. There were two ads to run in the morning editions of the Boston Globe. One was: ‘Follow the Celtics with Paul Pierce going forward’ and another was ‘A new era beginning’ and a picture of Chris Paul.”
While the deal never happened in Boston, Morey eventually landed the 32-year-old who has helped lead Houston to a dominant first season with the Rockets.
However, for the last two years prior to this one, Paul and Pierce were actually teammates on the Los Angeles Clippers.