Baller Mind Frame

Rajon Rondo: The Boston Celtics’ Fair Trade Agreement?

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Image courtesy of DGA Productions/Flickr.

Image courtesy of DGA Productions/Flickr.

The Boston Celtics are in a world of hurt. The team traded away virtually every asset they had, and the draft picks they gained in the shedding of talent have not turned out to be replacement calibre players in any way. Looking at the future, the only asset left on this team is Rajon Rondo. So the question now has to be asked “Do the Celtics trade their only decent player for more draft choices, and if so what could they get for him?” In order to answer this properly, we’ll have to look at this a couple of different ways.

First off, let’s tackle what the team could get for Rondo. On the one hand Rondo is 28, coming off a season where he averaged nearly 12 points and 10 assists a game. Couple that with 5.5 boards and 1.3 steals and Rondo is in the discussion for one of the top point guards in the country (I had him at number 8 on my list of the top ten point guards). While not the same degree of player, Kevin Love was traded for a couple of first round picked players, and some future NBA Draft picks on top of that. So should the Celtics be holding out for the same? In short, NO! There are two reasons that this will likely not happen.

One, the Cavs had first round picks to spare. Anthony Bennett has under-performed in Cleveland, and Wiggins (while amazing) hasn’t played in the NBA yet, and is still unproven. Getting LeBron James via free agency made Wiggins expendable to some degree. Two, the Cavs decided they HAD to win NOW! The Cavs really did sell the farm to get Love, because this is what it was going to take to make King James happy in his return to Cleveland. No other team in the league has the same desperation for a player/position coupled with the same overstocked pantry of players. One other thing that will work against the Celtics is their drafting of Marcus Smart. For those of you who don’t know, Smart is a rookie, who is also a point guard, who Boston drafted sixth overall this year. While this doesn’t make Rondo expendable, it does make other teams look at the trade differently. It’s not like Boston would have to give up their only good player (like the Timberwolves had to do with Love), the Celtics almost have a spare as Smart managed 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists with Oklahoma State last year.

So what could the Celtics get for him? I think the value for Rondo will peak right around the NBA trade deadline, and will hinge on injuries to other players in the league. A team like the Dallas Mavericks might make a play for Rondo late, if they see a chance to beat the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mark Cuban is the type of guy who would go for that kind of move. Most likely what Cuban gives up is a backup, or his starting point guard (Jameer Nelson or Raymond Felton) and a first or second round pick. If they gave up any more than that I would be shocked. To be honest though I think what Boston would like is Raymond Felton and two first round picks. In Smart, the team has a player they could try to build around, so a guy like Nelson, who would eat salary cap and take time away from developing Smart, would be a step in the wrong direction. The other way the team might look at any potential trade would be a starter quality player from another team and a first round pick. The issue here is that any team willing to make this trade is likely dealing with a guy that really just needs a change of scenery, and giving up a pick with whomever that is isn’t in their best interest.

So now on to “Should they trade Rondo?” In short, the answer is no… unless someone offers the Celtics exactly what they want/need. Boston fans are pretty patient, I think they understand what the team was trying to do when they traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. They are also not ignorant fans, so if Rondo is traded for much less than market value they will be calling for a head on a pike. That could either be Danny Ainge or Brad Stevens, and neither of them would want to be looking for a new gig this year. I can’t see them shipping Rondo unless the trade of the century comes along, or Smart is playing so much better than Rondo that Rondo becomes expendable. His value will depend on how well he’s playing, and how desperate someone else is to make it this year. In a league where “tanking” is more common than the three-point play, I’m not sure the Celtics are willing to deal in the 2014-15 season.

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