*While there has been talk around the NBA from several scouts that the Celtics have been shopping guard Rajon Rondo, he isn’t expected to be dealt. While unlikely, one Eastern Conference executive said the latest trade rumor included Rondo and forward Brian Scalabrine going to Memphis for guard Mike Conley and swingman Rudy Gay.
Read that sentence carefully: One executive has told Spears that the latest rumor is Rondo/Scal for Gay/Conley. In other words, Spears, who has great sources, has heard from one executive who in turn has heard a rumor that the Celtics and Grizzlies have discussed this deal.
I wouldn’t get too worked up about this. I don’t like this trade, mostly because I don’t like Conley–though he did improve his play considerably once Lionel Hollins took over the Grizz job. I guess Rudy Gay comes off the bench for Boston in this scenario? Eh. Gay looks wonderful on the court at times, but I’ve read and heard enough questions about his motor/desire/whatever-you-want-to-call-it that the superficial appeal of his game long ago wore off.
In any case, I don’t think Rondo is going to be traded. Not now. I have a post that will go up later todaypr tonight explaining this in greater detail, but the basic reason is that it will be very difficult for Ainge to make a deal involving Rondo that helps the team now. The Detroit offer, which I believe really happened, came very, very close, since Boston would have received a decent young (alleged) point guard in addition to the two highly-paid (if overpaid) salary chips necessary to make a Ray Allen/Rondo deal work.
Because of Rondo’s low salary, he can’t net an equally valuable player alone, so the Celtics must toss in their other assets–namely, expiring contracts. Scal and TA have expiring deals that total about $6 million, meaning a Scal-TA-Rondo package combined is worth $8.6 million in contract dollars. If the C’s trade that package away, they can take about $10.8 million worth of salary in return under the league’s trade rules for teams over the cap. That may not be enough to net a package that makes up for the loss of Rondo. Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter and Rip Hamilton, for instance, all earn more than that number alone.
That’s why you’re seeing packages involving Ray Allen’s deal along with Rondo’s, and those alter the Celtics core so dramatically that I don’t think Ainge is willing to do them unless they include a decent point guard and an experienced veteran–and such packages are hard to find.
And Ainge, amid all of his statements at yesterday’s press conference, made one thing very clear: He’s not making a deal that doesn’t improve the team immediately.
Does this Memphis deal qualify? I don’t think so.