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Report: GMs around the league expect Celtics to trade Rondo

Jan 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Rajon Rondo made his return to the court on Friday in Boston’s loss to the Lakers, so now that he’s back playing, the reports have already begun to ramp back up that the Celtics will look to trade him as soon as the right offer comes along, largely because he won’t fit into the team’s rebuilding plans.

Except I’m not necessarily buying it.

We’ll get to that part in a moment, but first, here’s the latest from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Rondo is the last blue chip from the 2008 championship team and 2010 Finals team that Celtics president Danny Ainge can convert into assets as he rebuilds the franchise. More than a few GMs around the league expect Rondo to be on the move, if not at the trading deadline next month, then maybe in June at draft time. …

Rondo probably isn’t going to accept a role in a rebuilding situation with a rookie coach, Brad Stevens, so look for Ainge to try to move him to the West, with Phoenix and Houston seen as two potential destinations. Dallas has always had interest in the four-time All-Star, who blew out his right knee last January, but Mark Cuban doesn’t have the assets to make it work.

A lot of maybe and probably in there, and despite what some GMs may expect, it’s far from certain that the Celtics will look to trade Rondo this season or this summer.

Let’s start with the rookie head coach part — Rondo has already bonded with Brad Stevens, saying the two had become best friends long before the season began. Things can change once he’s actually playing, of course, but Rondo hasn’t mentioned one word about having a problem with the rebuilding situation or his new head coach.

Speaking of the rebuild, Rondo isn’t exactly a grizzled veteran — he’s a four-time All-Star who’s now in his eighth season. Bad teams need to acquire stars at some point to begin the winning process, and the Celtics have a good one in Rondo already in place. He’s experienced winning and has done so in Boston, which gives him credibility among younger teammates while taking over the leadership responsibilities.

If a team comes calling with a package that’s too good to pass up, then yes, the Celtics will trade Rondo. The fact that they’re in a rebuilding mode, however, doesn’t mean that they’re going to look to expedite that process.

  1. pukpokito - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    If Rajon was in the Celtics’ long term plan then they would have told him to return next season.There is a reason the Celtics activated him now. The Celtics want to trade him by the trade deadline. He is ready to play and he is ok. He just needs to get in shape and he can help a team big time again.The It would be great for an up and comer like Phoenix and Houston to have him. The Celtics asking Price is simple really.An unprotected 1st round pick and an expiring contract or you take one of their unwanted contracts like Wallace and Bass. Rajon is worth it either way.He really gets in shape fast.

  2. JMClarkent - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    It seems like a Catch 22. You can get some nice rebuilding pieces for a 27 year old All-Star point guard, yet a 27 year old All-Star point guard would be a great start for a rebuilding effort.

    It seems to me trading Rondo validates the behind-the-scenes talk that he is indeed a bit of a headcase; otherwise, unless you get back an insane treasure trove worth of goodies, it doesn’t compute.

  3. legend30 - Jan 19, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Rondo been in the trade rumors since he got drafted…

  4. basketballbro - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    The Knicks NEED to make a legitimate offer to acquire Rondo in order to secure ‘melo in free agency. Not sure how the contracts will work out but maybe a deal like this. NY sends Felton, Shump or THJr, and Amar’e. BOS sends Rondo and one of their bad contracts (Wallace/Humphries)? NY might have to throw in a future pick, but that’s not really a problem since they seem to hate developing young talent.
    Probably won’t happen due to Amar’e/Felton being million dollar paper weights, but meh worth a shot right?

  5. cruzan80 - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    Never understood why you’ll want to keep a 27 year old PG coming off ACL surgery to be part of a full blown rebuilding process. Get a young talent, draft picks & move along.

    • andyhr17 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:46 AM

      Because smart GM can rebuild a team in the matter of one season. I seem to remember it happening with the Celtics in the not too distant past when they went from around the worst team one season to winning a championship the next. They also did that rebuild while keeping their best player (Pierce). People have the shortest memory…..

      • cruzan80 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        I would agree if not for the biggest difference between that situation & this one…..ACL surgery. You can ignore that if you want but we have plenty of examples of other very athletic players like Rondo (Stoudamire & Rose) who were never the same post ACL/MCL surgery. If your Ainge….who is a smart GM…you’ll realize that you have zero guarantee that you’re getting the same Rondo you last saw. People do have the shortest memory…..or in this case…convenient memory.

    • adoombray - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      dude. Some guys dont even start getting playing time till they are 27. Rondo has 10 years left. As long as they trade him to Phoenix by then with their miracle medical staff, he’s fine. ACL’s mean nothing to anyone other than Derrick Rose (who has clearly let it get in his head).

      • jek84 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        Exactly, cruzan80’s memory isn’t too sharp either because he has seem to forgot about Al Jefferson, Kyle Lowry, David West, and Jamal Crawford. Do forgive me though, that list is just the active players my terrible memory can think of at the moment.

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        Your memory’s gonna suffer at 80, too.

    • cruzan80 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      @jek84

      More convenient amnesia. Both Kyle Lowry & Jamal Crawford had their surgeries as TEENAGERS STILL IN COLLEGE. I’ll even add another example of that scenario for you…Baron Davis also had that surgery….IN COLLEGE. I’m sorry but 18 years old VS 27 years old is a big difference in book. As for Al Jefferson & David West…neither are guards & neither were ever very athletic players to begin with. Their skilled big men who don’t necessarily need to be very athletic to be effective players in the league. Nice try though.

  6. lakerade - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Rondo for a Detroit big, fills needs.

    • weaselpuppy - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      If it’s Josh Smith? Sure thing.

  7. pbtunpaidwriter - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    The Celtics are in an interesting situation. They can start an all out rebuild and get rid of Rondo for picks and young talent. Or they can use the draft picks they do have trade for some proven veterans, draft some young players and keep a few key pieces like Green and Olynyk (who’s going to be pretty good soon) while keeping Rondo.

    It seems like the right move here is to trade Rondo though since he’s the type to get very moody and wouldn’t want to go through any type of rebuild. It also seems like a desperate team would overpay for Rondo and he has a very reasonable $13 million salary next year in the last year of his contract.

    • adoombray - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      Sullinger and Olynyk are keepers. I don’t understand the impetus to trade Rondo. They are a competetive in the east playing Rondo/Bradley/whoever/Sullinger/Olynyk.

  8. southsidegroovin281 - Jan 19, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    C’mon Rockets let’s make this happen. They need an established PG in the worst way to run the offense.

    • sawick48 - Jan 19, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      ummmm, for what, exactly? Ainge has been the blueprint Morey’s modeled himself after, so he’s not gonna be taken to the woodshed by Dork Elvis…..he was Dork Elvis before Dork Elvis was Dork Elvis.

      i know fans and executives of teams always inflate the value of their own players but i dont know that thatll be the case here. Rondo (assuming hes totally healthy and back to being Rondo, which the first couple games sure seem to suggest his quickness and speed hasnt lost a step) is pretty universally regarded as a superstar, and a top 5 pg, if not a top 10-15 player in the league as a whole.

      IMO (which is worth exactly as much as anyone else’s on this site, which is to say, bupkis) Ainge holds rondo for the rest of the season, and targets a high lottery pick and lesser piece for him (Kings? for their pick and mclemore?). notice i say target, not get. lt remains to be seen for sure but i think rondo’s days in green, unfortunately, are numbered

    • marcusfitzhugh - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      Well…….If the Rockets didn’t previously (over) commit fifteen million dollars to a certain point guard for next season. …….

    • money2long - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      how would harden coexist with a point guard who plays in rondo’s style? doesn’t harden like to create and dish ? is that a reason he came off the bench in OKC and is that why the rockets’ pg’s don’t get many assists ? harden does a lot of creating on the court. how would that work with rondo..im just inquiring. not criticizing.

  9. chicagosports2014 - Jan 19, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Hate to say it but I think the Pacers can offer the best package. Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger, Draft pick.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      But the Pacers wouldn’t make that trade.

  10. thomaskouns - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Most over-rated PG in the league.

    Just because a player’s name pops up in the media a lot doesn’t mean their play justifies the attention.

    • money2long - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      let’s see if he makes the hall of fame down the line then.

    • andyhr17 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      It’s actually the triple doubles and league leading assist totals that generally pop up in headlines but whatever.

    • ranfan12 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      how is he overrated lol. granted he isn’t exactly the best shooter, or always an aggressive scorer, he’s done pretty well over the years and improved in points and overall efficiency.

  11. bigwii - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Flip him back to the Suns for picks, Len, and Okefur to match up contracts. Flip Bradley and a future pick to Utah for Hayward in a sign-and-trade.

  12. nawlinsmitty - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Thomaskouns……Chris Paul is the most overrated point guard in the league. Check out the Clippers stats since Paul has been out. Much more team play.

    • 24thesho - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:35 AM

      I totally agree.

    • obmig - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      Wouldn’t that happen in Miami if LBJ was hurt or Indy if George went down? Doesn’t mean you want go through a playoff series without your best player.

  13. Kansachusetts - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I don’t see any evidence that Rondo isn’t willing to go through the rebuild. That’s all speculation and it isn’t borne out by his accompanying the team on the road when he is out and his words and actions since he started playing again. I think the time off has been good for Rondo and made him more of a leader.

    • cruzan80 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      You hope…..

  14. onlyavoice - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Only an IDIOT believes he’s going to be the face of the Celts.
    He would have been gone already if not injured.
    McHale handed Ainge KG for nothing, expect the favor to be returned.
    (Ainge is a back stabbing lier, so McHale better not hold his breath)

  15. j0esixpack - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    It comes down to what Rondo wants. If he’s content to stay in Boston and be part of the rebuilding (and signed to a maximum contract) then might as well keep him assuming he’s physically and psychologically healed (blowing an ACL can do a job on a player)

    Ainge has enough draft picks and cap space to put together a pretty good team.

    But Rondo can help someone now (if healthy) and the price tag for that won’t be cheap.

    If Ainge is going to get value it will have to be a 3 way team deal because he won’t get direct value in terms of draft picks from a contender. While Rondo COULD be one of the greats, there’s always been a slight screw loose with him, so I can go either way in terms of seeing him go or rebuilding around him.

    There’s really just so many moving parts – most especially what Rondo wants – that I don’t think anyone can predict what will happen.

  16. ayochaser - Jan 21, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    I don’t think they necessarily should trade him but Rondo & Ainge definitely need to discuss where this team is going down the line. If Ainge thinks he can get something great back I’d look into it, but if Rondo is serious about retiring a Celtic, keep him. He’s a great 2-way player, besides the fact that he can’t shoot at all, but he’d still make almost any team in the league better. He’s just 27 and J-Kidd didn’t become a reliable shooter till the end of his career so there’s still hope for him. And, I honestly haven’t heard anything about Rondo not being in for another rebuild but just seeing the way he is over the years I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose to not share that with the media. I honestly don’t think they should trade him because after this season Humphries contract is up, & they can move/amnesty Wallace. After that Rondo & Jeff Green are really the only guys on the roster with bigger deals going down the line. They could do something with that cap space and be right back in the mix in the next year or 2 with Rondo onboard

    • coachjac30 - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      They can’t amnesty Wallace, his contract was signed while with the Nets. As for the cap space created by Humps, Bogans’, Bayless’ deals, what key free agent has Boston ever signed? Lets face it, the big time free agents are either going to stay where they are, or go to NY, BK, Miami, Houston, Dallas, LA.

      They need a shooting guard, unless they plan on spending serious money on Bradley and have him be their SG of the future. They need a true Center. They need to dump either Green or Wallace somehow, get rid of Bass.

      As for what their roster currently is, I think Pressey can be a JJ Barea type backup, I think Sullinger and Olynyk will be good solid pro’s and I think Faverani will be a good backup center. Other than that, everyone on this roster is fair game.

      See what it would take to get Monroe from Detroit and Hayward from Utah.. If you can’t trade for them, and they don’t get traded, you sign them to good sized offer sheets in the hopes that their teams won’t match or if they do you do a sign and trade and get rid of some of the pieces you don’t want.

  17. wowwowbad - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    Dallas get: Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace
    Boston get: Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Dejuan Blair, a 1st-round pick

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