A week after Ainge tried to put to bed rumors of any major deals being on the horizon, we have a bombshell rumor today reported by Yahoo Sports involving the C’s offering Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen for Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince. Zach had an initial look at the deal earlier this morning on Celtics Hub.
As would be expected, Danny Ainge shot down the rumors during a press conference this morning at the C’s facilities in Waltham. Despite the denial, let’s take a look at the offer anyway from both teams’ perspective so we can see what Danny may have been up to here.
I was torn in my gut reaction to the offer and was unsure to say the least. I thought that given the Pistons woes this past year (39 wins), that a lot of these players mentioned had down years. Rip Hamilton was an aging shooting guard that was forced to come off the bench.
Stuckey had seemed to be rather uninspiring once taking over the reigns full time from Chauncey Billups. All of these preconceived notions, made me a bit tentative to give an unequivocal yes to this deal, one that Chad Ford had reported the Pistons laughed off when the deal was presented to them.
My initial hesitation though probably speaks more to my hope that Danny keeps this core together, rather than the actual return of the deal, which in all honesty, is far more than I would have expected Danny to realistically get. A closer inspection of the Pistons’ players also revealed that all members of this deal, had extremely respectable numbers last year. Given that, and the fact Rip Hamilton is only 31 years old, makes me feel better Danny being the one to present the offer.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if the Celtics are shopping their backcourt around, these are the kinds of returns I like to see rumored. Despite the Celtics giving up the two best players in the deal (in my biased opinion) they would at worse only be taking a step sideways in their championship pursuit. The added depth of a true 6th man in Prince would be a major asset to an aging frontcourt as well in Pierce and Garnett.
It is really not worth the time to dissect this deal more, since there is no chance of it happening anytime soon it appears. If the Pistons were ready to blow their team up after one down year, the offer might make some sense for them, given Ray’s expiring contract. The fact is they are far from ready to do that so dismantling their team right now would be quite the slap in the face to their fan base and give them no real idenity to build upon.
The PG swap is also not a slam dunk for the Pistons even if they wanted to rebuild. Stuckey’s just as young as Rondo and cheaper at 4.5 million total for the next two years. Given the fact they gave him the car keys to the team early last season, they would likely be admitting their mistake in dealing him to another team. Either that, or they would have a very high evaluation of Rondo but even that edge would not swing the deal in the Pistons favor if they hoped to contend next year.
So if this offer is true, it looks like Ainge swung for the fences here and failed to make contact. I have no problem with him continuing to do this as long as he makes sure any deal involving his core is an unquestionable home run.
With rumors like this continuing though, it’s clear that Ainge may have an itchy trigger figure. And to be honest that should not surprise us Celtics fans. Before staying pat last year, Ainge made a deal in every offseason prior to his arrival from dealing away Antoine Walker after the 2003 playoffs to dealing for KG in the summer of 2007.
Ainge likes to play with his chips at the table. He also likely realizes the stakes are higher this time around. I trust he will exercise the caution necessary to ensure any deal he makes will keep myself and other Celtics fans from pulling our hair out.