Why The Celtics Should Trade Rondo
For the first time in six seasons the Boston Celtics entered the season with little to no expectations. With the trade that sent stalwarts Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and top reserve Jason Terry to Brooklyn the Celtics officially waved the white flag conceding to the dreaded rebuilding stage every organization hopes to avoid. Rajon Rondo is the last remaining member of the 2008 Championship team on the current Celtics roster. The final remaining link of the new big three era that brought a newfound joy to Celtics nation.
Rondo, 27 is in the prime of his career. He is a champion, four-time All-Star and is in the discussion of top point guard in the league. The questions remains, is it in the best interest of the team to keep Rondo for the next few years on a mediocre team that is looking towards the future or trade him? First and foremost Rondo is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in January there is still no definite timeframe for his return. It is still yet to be seen if Rondo takes the Derrick Rose route and sits out the entire season, though Rondo is on the record saying he plans to return this season. He might realize that this incarnation of the Boston Celtics are not playoff contenders this season and it might be in his best interest to sit this season out.
Yes, the Celtics should trade Rondo, and I believe at some point this season Rondo will no longer be a member of the Celtics. Rondo has done and said all the right things since the blockbuster trade with Brooklyn and the hiring of Coach Brad Stevens. He’s been a great mentor to the younger players. Nevertheless eventually Rondo’s personality will grow too erratic for Coach Stevens and company to contain. Rondo has a history of stirring up drama with former coaches and teammates. Coach Stevens is too early in his NBA coaching career to deal with situations that could become adverse in his process of building a team the way he desires. Celtics President Danny Ainge will be forced to make a move, where could Rondo land? That remains unknown. Ainge’s former teammate Celtics legend Larry Bird who is back running things for the Indiana Pacers could step to the plate. The Pacers were arguably a pure point guard away from making the NBA Finals last season. Adding Rondo to a nucleus that includes emerging star guard Paul George and big men Roy Hibbert and David West would bolster a starting line up that could overtake Miami. Players Indiana would likely part ways with in order to pull off a Rondo trade could include former All-Star Danny Granger along with his expiring contract or the Pacers could move guards George Hill and/or Lance Stephenson along with other role players could work as well. Indiana might not have the pieces that intrigue the Celtics, who are probably more interested in receiving high draft picks as compensation for Rondo. If that is the case the Sacramento Kings fit the bill. Sacramento is likely headed for the lottery and has plenty of young talent in the likes of expendable guards Jimmer Ferdette and Isaiah Thomas; center Jason Thompson could be an option for the Celtics as well. Looking at a Rondo trade from the Kings point of view, pairing Rondo with the talented DeMarcus Cousins would be fascinating at the very least. It gives Sacramento a solid one two punch to build around and elevates the Kings in the tough Western Conference. Both proposed trade options make sense but like all trade rumors it is yet to be known if Ainge will actually trade Rondo this season.
Rondo will be a free agent at the end of next season. Over the years we’ve seen how free agency affects teams. LeBron James single handedly put the Cleveland Cavaliers in turmoil with his decision to take his talents to South Beach. The Denver Nuggets on the other hand did not allow their superstar Carmelo Anthony to reach free agency eventually trading him to the New York Knicks for multiple assets that allowed the Nuggets to remain competitive in the West. The Celtics want to fall in the latter, eventually becoming a competitive team again through trades and the draft. The Celtics expect to hit the jackpot if they decide to trade a player of Rondo’s caliber. Denver did. When the Orlando Magic decided to part ways with Dwight Howard trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando received a nice package to kick-start their rebuilding efforts.
All in all Rondo deserves the opportunity to lead the Celtics on the court once he returns from injury. Unfortunately Rondo is not enough to change the fortunes of the current roster assembled. Rondo has earned the right to run a contending team at this point of in his career. Doc Rivers is gone so are Pierce and Garnett. Ray Allen left a year prior. It‘s time for Ainge to cut ties with the final piece of the puzzle the new big three era is over. Once Rondo is moved the Celtics can look forward to the future with a brand new outlook and allow Coach Stevens to put his imprint on the franchise.