All was quiet on a Friday All-Star Weekend, but that’s all about to change now. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, one of the most well respected reporters on the national level with strong ties to Boston is reporting that the Celtics have held preliminary (albeit unlikely) trade talks centering around the Celtics dealing Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard. Here is the key excerpt of the must-read piece.
Howard said Friday that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told him he does not want to trade the free agent-to-be. It’s the same message Kupchak delivered in a recent interview withNewsday and the same message he’s given Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, in recent weeks.
However, CBSSports.com has learned that the Lakers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions with an unlikely trade partner regarding Howard: their fierce rival, the Boston Celtics. The centerpieces of the possible deal, which hasn’t gained any traction, would be Howard and Rajon Rondo.
The imagination runs rampant with the tantalizing possibilities.
Other significant pieces would have to be involved, since Rondo’s $11 million salary is substantially less than Howard’s $19.5 million. If the Lakers dealt Howard for an All-Star point guard who is out for the rest of the season following ACL surgery, they’d effectively be throwing in the towel on this miserable, underachieving season and looking to next year.
There are at least two significant impediments to a Howard-Rondo deal. First, as Howard said Friday, the Lakers continue to insist they won’t trade him, which sources say is the impression the Celtics have gotten, too. Second, Celtics president Danny Ainge would not trade Rondo without an assurance that Howard would re-sign with Boston as a free agent this summer, a league source said. Howard has shown no inclination to commit to anyone, including the Lakers, until the season is over.
Since the league source familiar with the discussions characterized them as preliminary, it’s possible that the talks could be tabled until after the season.
CH’s Take: Needless to say at first glance, I’d say the possibility of such a deal going down is very small. As Berger outlines, there are plenty of obstacles involved including matching salaries, getting Howard to commit to a long-term deal, amongst other factors. With that said, there are definite shockwaves that will be sent out because of this kind of talk since it means a few things.
1) Danny Ainge is considering going for it all this and next season, with KG and Paul Pierce proving they can compete at an extremely high level in the last month.
2) This team still may not be entirely sold on building around Rajon Rondo in the future, especially a Rondo that is coming back from a ACL tear.
Given that these two teams are lifelong enemies in the NBA scope, it’s incredible to have such a big deal like this even under consideration. Needless to say, we’ll have a lot to talk about here in the coming days on CelticsHub as we get closer to the trade deadline.
Stay tuned to CelticsHub for plenty of more analysis and breaking news on any potential deals or trade talks as they develop.