Danny Ainge says that he’s not planning to trade Rajon Rondo, which is Danny-speak for, “I don’t have the deal I’m looking for yet so I’ll try and calm the waters in case Rondo does end up staying in Boston.”
It may also mean, “Dell Demps laughed in my face when I made that offer but now Chris Paul has requested a trade and the Knicks have no assets and New Orleans will regret leaking these talks to drive up the price from the Clippers because CP3 is going to be mine.”
It may also mean that Ainge was never seriously considering dealing him and was just engaging in exploratory talks, the way he’s surely done with everyone on his roster.
Let’s try and make some sense of it.
1. Will Rajon Rondo be traded before this season starts?
Brendan Jackson: Is Danny Ainge really hell bent on getting a TrueHoop Network Certified top ten player? Is this Danny Ainge doing another, “I’m going to motivate Rondo by telling him he’s not as good as everyone else I want”? The truth is no one knows at this point. My gut tells me all this news about trading Rondo is nothing but then again, Danny Ainge isn’t afraid to pull any trigger. Dude can’t sit still.
Ryan DeGama: No, but it won’t be for a lack of effort on Ainge’s part. After five years, I think the Celtics are ready to commit to a new engine for future drink-stirring purposes. It may take some time to find acceptable value for Rondo, but I think he’ll be moved before the end of summer 2012.
Hayes Davenport: No. I think his value around the league, dragged down by his performance in the second half, is a little lower than the minimum the Celtics would demand for him. If they did decide to trade him, I think we’d all be hugely disappointed with what they’d get back. But now that I’ve answered, I’d like to admit that I have never successfully predicted a trade or non-trade and basically have no idea what I’m talking about.
2. Should the Celtics consider dealing Rondo if they can’t get a superstar like Chris Paul?
Brendan: Cost Benefit Analysis. The Celtics should consider trading anyone on their roster if it brings them closer to a championship. An initial trade of Rondo could also signal an additional trade to come so don’t rule it out.
Ryan: Rondo turns 26 in February, which means 1) he’s a Pisces (Imaginative! Oversensitive!) and 2) his next five years will probably be markedly better than the five that we’ve already seen. He’s got a dynamite contract too, so you don’t move him unless you can get a top-15 talent in return.
Hayes: They should definitely consider it, yes, but only to try the other route at a superstar: the draft. I would trade Rondo for some really excellent draft picks. Superstars win championships, and the vast majority of championship (and even championship-contending) teams of the last 20 years drafted a future top-ten player they could build around (even the Celtics, if you want to include Pierce). I would pass on trading Rondo for a few lesser players, though. Not trying to lock up a low East playoff spot for the next five years.
3. What effect will these rumors have on Rondo this season if he remains in Green?
Brendan: Rondo has never used this kind of stuff as a motivator. Or if he has, it hasn’t worked. The Celtics core had the type of camaraderie that coaches dream of until Ainge traded Perkins. I don’t think the team was prepared to feel that level of loss. On the flip side, it served as a great reminder that the NBA is ultimately a business and the Celtics have to be prepared for anything. Players respond to things in different ways. Remember Pierce being a malcontent when the team was struggling and adding pieces like Vin Baker, Ricky Davis, and Mark Blount? Things changed quickly and Pierce has embraced the full Celtic green ever since.
Ryan: If anything, Boston’s renewed interest in upgrading his roster spot might put a little chip on Rondo’s shoulder. But that doesn’t necessarily lead to better play or make him an easier guy to coach. I’m actually much more worried about him consistently attacking the basket than how he feels about trade rumors. But I’m a Gemini. And sometimes we’re harsh like that.
Hayes: I almost said “no effect” because I remembered the Celtics openly shopped Rondo in the summer of 2009, but then I checked and realized I remembered it wrong: if they were dealing him at the time, they were VERY discreet about it. Nobody associated with the team was actually quoted talking about it (like Doc has been already), and Ainge held a press conference basically just to trick the media into gathering in a room so he could yell at them about the Rondo rumors they were spreading. Unless he has a similar agenda for his press conference today, I could see Rondo sulking and then playing a lot like he did at the end of last season.