If you’re like me, then you just took your morning stroll to HoopsHype.com (because they have the best roundup of daily NBA news/rumors) and you said “holy moly, that’s a lot of Celtics-related trade talk!” If you’re still like me, then your fingers are also sticky from the danish you ate at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference’s absolutely delicious continental breakfast. Sticky fingers and rampant trade talk? What more could you ask for? (Besides the obvious second danish).
So let’s get everyone caught up to speed.
Despite Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers’ comments yesterday, “inside sources” are still saying that Rajon Rondo has to go. Not the most encouraging protest speech for Celtics fans. We’ve seen management say one thing and the media say the other before and it’s usually about 50/50 regarding who is telling the truth (the truth? well, they might be both telling the truth but only one is going to be correct at the end of the day). That’s why it’s almost impossible to know what to believe. I haven’t heard anything personally from any sources so I won’t comment as to whom I think is more accurate. All I know it that this year will probably be the most dramatic of the Big Three era; that includes the Championship season. Here’s Mark Murphy from the Boston Herald:
Indeed, Rondo’s trade value has taken a hit. The Celtics can’t hope to get back equal value for him, according to the other source.
“There are irreconcilable differences between him and the team, and it’s been that way for a couple of years,” the source said, citing Rondo’s well-documented stubborn streak. “His value around the league has taken a hit. He’s not exactly the Chamber of Commerce’s man of the year. They’ve been kidding themselves for years. Doc can put an arm around him and give him a kiss and try to make it all better, but that just ain’t happening.
“He was cut from the national team (prior to the 2010 FIBA World Championship),” the source said. “I know the reason they gave was that he had to leave for personal reasons, but that’s baloney. He was cut. He’s a moody guy who has trouble fitting in.”
According to the source, there is a dearth of interest in Rondo around the league.
If we’re to believe this source then the Celtics are in the worst possible situation. They have to move an All Star player that no one wants. In this reality, the Celtics are almost sure to get 75 cents (or even less) to the dollar in any Rondo deal.
To make matters worse for Celtics fans, it looks like any and all of the Big Three are on the trade block. Here’s Mitch Lawrence from the New York Daily News:
So let the Celtics break up their Big Three, which is what the Knicks’ opponents this Sunday in Boston are actively trying to do. Team president Danny Ainge realizes that the Celtics won’t win the title and can only make the playoffs. That’s not good enough for a franchise that proudly flies 17 championship banners.
With the Big Three’s window now shut, Ainge is trying to land Atlanta’s Josh Smith and other young studs, while offering up Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can also be had, for young players and draft picks. Rajon Rondo might be leaving, too, with the Lakers and Utah seen as possible destinations.
Lawrence doesn’t even cite any unnamed source or links to where this can be found so this should definitely be taken with a big grain of salt. That said, it’s not totally unbelievable. It’s been reported that Ainge really likes Josh Smith, although the idea of replacing Kevin Garnett with Josh Smith is slightly nauseating. Perhaps securing Smith is the first piece to fall in getting Dwight Howard to come to Boston?