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Report: Mavericks Interested in Trading for Rajon Rondo

 

 The rumors just won’t stop. On the week the Celtics dismantled their championship core with the departures of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Doc Rivers, the final piece to the puzzle may be next to go.

According to a report from Mike Fisher over at DallasBasketball.com the Mavericks are involved in talks to acquire the All-Star point guard.

The Mavericks are engaging in trade talks involving Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, sources tell DallasBasketball.com. Meanwhile, Dallas has taken a position on Chris Paul and is also investigating bids on point guards Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings – and we’ve got the scoop on what’s happening with all four.

A similiar report came out earlier this afternoon from Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe  who elaborates on the Mavs’ interest in Rondo to put some help next to Dirk Nowitzki.

That likely won’t stop the Mavericks from inquiring about Rondo, who could be the distributor that could help return the club back into a Western Conference contender and someone who could attract Howard, a free agent, into signing with the Mavericks. Dallas is well under the salary cap, so it could absorb Rondo’s contract but would likely want to send the Celtics Shawn Marion’s expiring deal along with a younger player and a draft pick to make it attractive for Ainge.

The Mavericks also acquired former University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin, who could also be included in a deal. Larkin worked out twice with the Celtics.

So what do we make of these reports? Is a trade to Dallas actually realistic?

The short answer is no. And actually the long answer is no too. Here’s the thing. You can count on Danny Ainge is listening to any offers on his All-Star point guard. That’s his job and the team’s moves in the past week make him more expendable than ever now.

In order to acquire Rondo though, a team needs assets. Serious assets. That’s something that Dallas does not have right now. Heading into next season, the Mavericks have just five players under guaranteed contracts, excluding their recent draft picks.

Would Dallas be wiling to absorb all of the bad/unneeded contracts on the Celtics roster? I don’t see how that would make sense for the Mavs financially and given them to flexibility to add another cornerstone *like Dwight Howard) to the roster.

Anything short of that for Boston makes little sense. Rondo is still in his prime and likely has a good chance at part of the future at his young age. Late round picks Dallas could offer, in addition to expiring contracts won’t do the trick here as they did for KG and Pierce. Ainge will wait out unless he gets that. He’ll always continue listening though.

  • Phil

    The Mavs don't have the assets to provide equal value for Rondo, but they 'do' have the salary structure to propose a deal the Cs would take. If they want Rondo and the space for Dwight, it's not happening. If they were to offer to take Wallace/Lee/Bass/Rondo in exchange for expirings, I think the Cs do that. They would absolutely be the worst team the next year or two (which they want,) and they would clear up this hell of a cap situation in one fell swoop.

    It puts a bad taste in your mouth to think about swapping your franchise player for cap relief, but that's the position we're in. It's this or build a contender around Rondo on a max contract, and I'm not sure the front office wants to go that path.

    • dasein

      Agree. In a vacuum, shipping Rondo in exchange for taking Wallace off our hands plus a Larkin and future pick is probably a decent deal. However, we're not really in a place right now where we need all that cap space. I'd say a better option is to roll those guys out to a. see what Rondo can do as the man, and b. hope Wallace has something left that might make him attractive to a contender (not holding my breath there thou). This type of deal would be available next year too. No need to rush anything with Rondo unless what's coming back is a godfather offer.

      • dasein

        BTW, no matter which way it goes with Rondo, it could be to the teams advantage. If he shows he's worth the max deal then fine, give it to him. If it deflates his value, fine too. Sign him to a reasonable amount and he's still an asset.

      • Phil

        Interesting point about waiting to trade him later. I wonder how his value would be different when he was on the last year of his deal opposed to coming off an ACL injury though. I guess it depends on how you expect him to play this year somewhat. That was what scared the Thunder into making the Harden trade early; value does go down when you have to trade for a player plus pay him.

        If you don't think he's going to be engaged playing on a tanking team, you're better off selling when his best performance (11-12) is still fresh in everyone's mind. Two bad years in a row (including a serious injury,) and an upcoming contract is a really bad place to be in for trade negotiations.

        I'd favor getting cap space as soon as possible though. You never know when opportunities will pop up, even if it's just absorbing a 5m dollar contract in exchange for getting a 1st rounder.

        • dasein

          Fair point about cap space leaving the door open to opportunity. I fear it may be moot though. Wallace's contract is arguably the worst in the league. Taking it on would remove Dallas from Dwight's menu, so it makes no sense for them. Maybe if Dwight chooses the Rockets they would then come back to it if they view Rondo as a cornerstone.

          The thing is, if you're the Mavs, would you rather have Rondo + the Wallace milestone or simply make a short term offer on Jennings at a level that the Bucks don't match? I think I'd rather roll the dice on Jennings than pay Wallace 10M for 3 years. It's just such an awful contract that I'm having trouble imagining anyone that would want to take it on.

          • Phil

            I wonder how losing out on Howard would affect their pursuit of Rondo. Would they call it off and just go back into the tank, or would they go after Rondo a little harder to put someone next to Dirk? I hate Jennings' game, but even as a fan I couldn't see Dirk and Jennings getting you anywhere. Howard has said that he wants to make his decision July 10th, so it's not like the Rondo move has to happen first.

            Here's the biggest support for a Rondo to Dallas trade; they could use Rondo as part of their pitch to Dwight before any deals are actually made, sign him, then make that trade with the Cs and absorb all of those deals. As long as the numbers match, being over the cap doesn't matter. The Mavs have the expirirings necessary. I would never try to guess what Howard's thinking, but Houston looks like a much better situation to me. Add Rondo to the Mavs though, and that changes things.

          • dasein

            I'm not sure that The Mavs could sign howard and then trade for Rondo and Wallace actually.
            According to ShamSports, assuming the Mavs renounce just about everyone they have capholds on, they'll only have about 18.5M cap. Hard to see Dwight giving a couple million discount to go play with Dirk and nobody else. But lets assume he does, that would leave them with a roster something like this:

            Dirk Nowitzki: $22,721,381
            Shawn Marion: $9,316,796
            Dwight Howard: 19M
            Vince Carter: $3,180,000
            Jared Cunningham: $1,208,400
            Brandan Wright: $884,293 (Cap hold)
            Jae Crowder: $788,872
            Bernard James: $788,872
            Roster charge: $490,180
            Roster charge: $490,180
            Roster charge: $490,180
            Roster charge: $490,180

            that's going to be around 58M right there which is more or less what the cap is going to be. This hasn't been updated from the draft, but that won't make much difference as the Mavs traded down a fair way.

            Now Rondo + Wallace are goinging to cost something like 22-23M combined. Ok, you can throw Marion back the other way, but that doesn't even get you half way there. Hard to see how they match salaries when they're right up against the cap with that lot.

            Also hard to see Cuban saying bugger it, lets go get Rondo if Dwight snubs them. We all know what he can do, but he isn't exactly the ideal pick and roll partner for Dirk. For that you really want someone with a consistent mid range J. Then again, Carslie is probably the 2nd best coach in the league, so you never know.

          • Phil

            Welp, can't say I'm a master of the Mavs' cap situation. I thought they had another large expiring in addition to Marion. I guess that's out.

            I'm still intrigued by Rondo as a secondary target after Dwight though. The Mavs have been playing the wait for a free agent game for two seasons now. They can't stay there in perpetuity. If Dwight goes somewhere else, who's next down the road? Lamarcus Aldridge? Rondo may be the best choice, even if it's not the best fit, especially if you just have to pay up a lot of money to do it. Cuban's willing to spend.

          • dasein

            That's true. If the Mavs strike out on the big FAs 2 years in a row, they'll have to look at other routes. They have no real assets to send out, so selling their cap space is about all they have left, in which case something like Rondo/Wallace for Marion and a no.1 or something might make sense. I'm not convinced Larkin will be a player in this league- just too small. It sounds crazy, but even absorbing Wallace, I don't know that the Mavs have enough assets to get this done. Depends how bad Trader Danny wants out of Wallace I suppose.

          • Phil

            The Mavs definitely have enough assets (if we're calling absorbing bad contracts an asset.) They can take all three of Wallace/Bass/Lee in exchange for Marion and Carter. It seems like a lot for the Mavs to take on, but their books are pretty clean right now, and there are rumblings that Dirk is willing to take a big pay cut next year to fit another player in. I assume the Mavs could use the stretch provision on Wallace like some people want the Cs to do. I don't know about having room to fit a max player, but they would have some room.

            And I don't think Lee's that much of a cap problem anyway. He just has no use as a market value salaried role player on a tanking team. He could help the Mavs. Bass… yeah, have fun.

            For the Cs, it comes down to whether you can stomach losing your franchise player for nothing. If you don't intend on building around him, it may be the best move. It helps you lose more now and frees up a lot of money.

            I'm not high on Larkin either, though the Cs may push for him to be included for PR reasons as much as anything else. I wanted the Cs to draft a point guard since a Rondo trade was obviously going to be a story, but here we are. I doubt the Mavs are overly attached to him either way, especially if they were getting Rondo. I welcome anyone who can shoot, so I wouldn't write him off as a contributing as a potential bench guy.

  • Sully

    Rondo is a top 5 PG easily. To lose him would literally be terrible! His passing skills are great and he's becoming a better shooter. He causes too many issues for other teams to get rid of him.

    • Cam Secore

      Who on this list is Rondo better than?
      Steph Curry
      Chris Paul
      Russell Westbrook
      Deron Williams
      Tony Parker
      Kyrie Irving
      Damian Lillard
      Derrick Rose

      I think the answer is, "none of the above."

      • Sully

        I would say a Healthy Rose and Kyrie Irving aren't anybody to shrug off. Chris Paul is also a pretty talented PG. Heck even Steph Curry is a better shooter. As a Celtics fan I believe he's the best PG in the game however Most people will only give him top 5 honors.

        • Cam Secore

          Well that's a compelling argument.

      • Phil

        Rondo is better than Deron Williams than Damien Lillard and I don't think it's particularly close. Williams had a good finish to last season, but he was really bad the two and a half years before that. His shooting percentages have been falling, and the Nets offense was a disaster. Lillard put up a lot of points on a team with no other options, but he was also one of the worst defenders in the entire league. Lillard doesn't belong in this conversation until he continues to put up stats in an actual offense and he acknowledges the other side of the ball.

        Rondo/Curry is a good argument in my opinion. I have a lot more injury questions about Curry than I do about Rondo (chronic ankle issues are scarier than a torn ACL.) I'd like to see how each player plays going forward before making a choice, you don't get more apple/orange than Rondo/Curry.

        • Phil

          Worth noting; I'd put Mike Conley ahead of Lillard and Williams.

        • Cam Secore

          You're probably right on Lillard… I just put him on their to pile on, but I don't know how you take anyone else off my list after that.

          Williams being "really bad" (with shooting percentages coming down) was still better than Rondo if we're just looking at something like PER.

          And let me know when Rondo acknowledges the other side of the ball like you're waiting for Lillard to do.

          • Phil

            If we're talking about who was better last year only, you're not gonna hear me say many nice things about Rondo. He came out playing for stats, passed on taking the larger role that the team was begging him to take, and ignoring defense completely. Then he got hurt. A big reason why I'm down on Rondo's future with the Celtics is how discouraging his year was.

            He still has a much higher ceiling than that though. He was a legitimate All-NBA defender earlier in his career, and he didn't just forget how to do that. His ceiling is what he was in the 2011 playoffs, and even just what he was in the 2011 season would put him back into the top 5 mix. Put him in the right situation, and he'll be in the elite conversation with Irving, Westbrook and Rose as Paul and Parker get older.

            The problem with Williams is that his best days are behind him, and his last few years don't show much promise for the immediate future, let alone a couple years from now. PER is one thing, but it's just a piece of the puzzle. For PGs, I'd rather look at their efficiency numbers and their effect on the offense.

            In fairness though, Rondo doesn't grade out well with that scale either. He's far from a sure thing, but I'd rather take a chance on him than Paul (at the huge contract he's about to get,) or Parker, who I assume is about to start declining.

          • Phil

            Edit: I don't mean Rondo is better than those other two guys, that was a future thing. I have Rondo 6th right now.

          • Cam Secore

            I do agree with some of the things you're saying, but just a couple points..

            -Rondo is two years younger than Williams (one year younger than Paul).. How does Rondo have upside, but Williams "has seen better days"?
            -You said you want to use efficiency numbers, but you don't want to use the Player Efficiency Rating (PER)?

          • Phil

            PER isn't a measure of efficiency as much as it's an aggregation of box score stats combined into one quick glance stat. Stuff like points per play and percentage stats are better to gauge how efficient a player actually is. Ironically, inefficient scorers are one of the big weaknesses of PER. No scale where Monta Ellis has historically done well on should have efficiency in its name…

            For age, two prime years of a player's career is a big deal. At 27, you expect Rondo's next two/three years to be his best. With Williams, you expect his best years to be the last two, with it going downhill from here. The down nature of Williams' time with the Nets shouldn't make you feel good.

            For Paul, it's more about paying him 20m+ in 5 years when you don't know how long his knees will hold up. If LAC is comfortable with his knees, they shouldn't hesitate. Paul's game won't deteriorate as quickly with age like some of the elite athletes that make up the PG hierarchy.

          • dslack

            Phil, PER DOES measure "stuff" per possession, where "stuff" is a mix of points, assists, rebounds, turnovers, etc. It's an efficiency stat. It's not a finely tailored one — it's just a mishmosh into a single number — but it IS some kind of efficiency.

          • Phil

            It does, but the penalty for missing shots isn't as big as the reward for making shots… or something like that. I looked at PER a lot about a year or two ago, but I forget some of the details now. I know PER rewards guys who put up unsustainable per minute numbers in short bursts, and guys who shoot and handle the ball a lot (like Monta Ellis,) without much consideration to how often they miss.

            It measures some type of efficiency, but it's not the best metric in that category. I think it needs a better name personally.

      • normshorts

        Depends if Rondo is on NBC or not.

      • Guest

        The only guys on that list that I'd take over Rondo are Paul & Rose. Get Lilliard off that list for now, he's nowhere near that level yet. Rondo is as good as any of those other great point-guards, and he's better than Williams by far.

      • dslack

        Rondo's better than Damian Lillard. Also, Rondo routinely outplays Tony Parker and usually outplays Deron Williams and Chris Paul, too. And Irving is an awful defender so far, but probably will improve. My list of PGs better than Rondo is:
        Paul, Curry, Westbrook, Rose, with Parker and Irving in Rondo's ballpark (but Irving rising quickly).

      • check12check

        odd….other than williams, I say all of the above

  • Zip Boys 4 Life

    Hopefully they will at least wait for him to get back healthy before seriously considering trade offers. We also need to wait and gauge where Rondo's mind is. Is he ready to be a leader or does he want out of this rebuild? It's his team now finally. What does he want to do with that responsibility?

  • http://www.twitter.com electa rosana

    Cam Secore the answer is actually ALL . Rondo is better than all of those people

    • Vincent

      Better at basketball???

  • fabzzz

    Rondo is not a max contract player. I dont think Danny or any other GM would say so. But he is a great point guard and with the right players around him he is a difference maker. We already know he should play 40 minutes a night on a championship team. And his deal right now is great for us. Danny would be stupid to trade him for draft picks and he’s nit gonna do that. Pair rondo and green, who also has a great contract, with the alleged franchise player we get in the draft next year, and in a few years we’ll be looking like OKC.

    Or that’s the plan I presume.

    • Phil

      It doesn't matter whether or not Rondo is a "max player", he's going to get a max contract from someone when his current deal expires. His contract being a great deal now (which it is,) is irrelevant when you're not trying to win and don't have cap space anyway. Any analysis of Rondo's future with the team has to factor his next contract in, not his current one. Paying Rondo and Green more than half of the cap is what I would call the worst case scenario for this team's future.

  • Vincent

    The opening line of this article is a bit misleading. It says the Celtics dismantled "their championship core." It WAS a championship core, it is certainly nowhere close to championship (of even the Atlantic Division) in 2013.

  • skeeds

    Many people raise the point that there's tons of very talented PG's in the game right now, which is something that supposedly makes Rondo expendable. My opinion is that it's exactly the other way around. Elite point guards rule the game, which means that no team stands a chance without one.
    Yes, Rondo isn't the once-in-a-generation franchise superstar we'd love to build around. But who is?

    A pass-first PG who's become a better scorer every season and gave everything to this team is EXACTLY who you need to KEEP, when going into rebuilding. With an asset like Rondo, we're one good trade away from contending. Without him, not even Lebron can make the rest of this team a playoff contender.

    Not to mention, he's fun to watch, feisty, polarizing, a diva, and kind of an asshole. Believe me, that's worth a lot when you're trying to keep seats filled through 1-2 bad seasons.

    • Cam Secore

      No team stands a chance except the three of the four that were in the conference finals this year…

      • skeeds

        George Hill and Mike Conley are pretty "alright" PGs, wouldn't you say? And so is Tony Parker. ( For all the fuss about Irving, Rubio, Holliday, [enter "elite" PG name here], I'd still take TP over any of them). Yeah, the Heat don't have a great PG, but having a point forward putting up Magic Johnson numbers this year, they kinda afford to.

        • Cam Secore

          Yeah, Hill and Conley are very good, but you just said you need an elite point guard.

          I'm with ya on Tony Parker, in my opinion he would have had a shot a MVP if his body didn't break down, towards the end of the season.

          • skeeds

            Yeah, I didn't clarify what I meant by "elite". I don't mean the best in the league, just a very very good one. The PG position is on a very high level indeed right now, a guy like Holiday would be a clear all star starter at a different time.
            Sure, as always you could argue who's "the best", but it's much more of a level field than some years ago…

  • hax

    Lee-Wallace-Humphries-Rondo for Kemba Walker, 3 unprotected 1st round draft picks, including 2014.
    Bobcats have the cap space for the contract dumping, and honestly all four guys are probably starters for them. Could Jordan really say no to becoming an instant playoff team?

    Then next week 'Lakers interested in Jeff Green?! Danny will only take a 2014 unprotected 1st round pick for him!'

    • hax

      Bass instead of Humphries. Kris is off the books for next year anyways.

      • dasein

        I hope you're joking here. Even the Bobcat's aren't doing that deal. And it wouldn't have them any closer to the playoffs than they are now.

        Substitute Rondo for Durant and you may have something, but even then…

        • hax

          Wallace led them to the playoffs by himself a few years ago. Humphries is a double-double. Rondo is the best team carry PG in the league. Courtney Lee is good when Doc isn't coaching him. Zeller is a beast inside. East is weak and full of tankers.

          • Phil

            Wallace's game a few years ago is irrelevant. Now he's an albatross of a contract who will obscure cap space wherever he goes. He has huge negative value to the point that if you're pawning him off on someone else, even with Rondo, they're not giving much up. You can either trade Rondo alone for picks (and three unprotected ones from a rebuilding team is too steep of a price,) or trade him with guys like Wallace and Bass in exchange for nothing. You can't have it both ways, guys like Wallace cancel out Rondo.

            I assume the Cs would rather dump contracts than get back picks in a Rondo deal, but that's speculation.

          • Morpheus

            Stop with the rubbish dude. Wallace stinks and so does Hump. This isn't NBA 2K13, where you can force teams to accept your pile of dog poo for 3 1st round picks and a potential all star.

    • Morpheus

      MJ doesn't make those decisions anymore, Rich Cho does now. And i doubt he'd trade for that as he highly values 1st round picks, especially if they're unprotected. Also, Kemba is a very good PG, not elite, yet, but i don't see how trading Rondo for him would make them a whole lot better. Wallace is a scrub now, so is Hump and Lee, well we all know he's a bum.

  • dasein

    Who knows, maybe he'll bloom without Doc. Those guys just didn't seem to get along. I'm pulling for Rondo. Will he become 2000 Jason Kidd, or sulk his way through 30 games before shutting it down for some phantom injury? He's easily the most interesting thing about this team in 2013-14.

  • Anthony

    I wonder if the Pelicans ever approached DA with the same deal that netted them Jrue Holiday. And do you take that deal? And speaking of the Pelicans, would anyone swap Wallace & piece(s) for Eric Gordon?

    Don't want to sound like a homer, but playoff Rondo is the best PG period! Look at how he scorched the Heats, the triple double average against the Bulls. Sure Parker was not in peak form but he struggled for the most part in the Heat series. And obviously there's no way to prove it but I will stick to my guns and say that OKC would have won a championship the past few seasons if they swap Westbrook for Rondo (with the roster remaining the same).

    • dasein

      I'd give Wallace and a 1st for Gordon for sure. At least there's hope Gordon can still be a player. Makes no sense for the Pelcans though. Give up a bad contract on a young guy with upside for an even worse contract on an old guy in series decline.

      Rondo for Noel and their top 5 protected 2014 1st? It would be worth a meeting. Not sure I'd pull the trigger though.

      • Anthony

        Pelicans have Jrue, Vasquez and Rivers at the guard positions and don't have anyone at the 3 position. If they can get say Wallace, Crawford and a 1st rounder that can fill a few void for them. Getting Jrue does give them some flexibility with Gordon.

        Doubt it will happen but just a thought.

  • Vermont Celts Fan

    Rondo will get traded this summer. The Mavs don't have enough. However, the Hawks do. What if they miss out on D12 and Paul which they are. The next best free agent is their own Josh Smith. He is buddies with Rondo. The Hawks have a ton of cap space. If they agreed to giving the Celts their 1st rounder this year Dennis Schroeder from Germany, their 2014 1st rounder and agreed to take on Gerald Wallace's contract I think something could get done quick.

    Would the Hawks be OK building around Rondo, Horford, Smith and trade Teague for an asset?

    • dasein

      I think you're right. The problem is that the Hawks would never offer all that. They're better off just keeping Teague and not taking on Wallace. Ferry didn't just dodge the Joe Johnson bullet so that he could throw himself in front of Wallace.

      Would the Hawks take Rondo and Wallace for Teague and some picks? Don't know. You'd really need to add a couple of 1st rounders to get them seriously considering it i think.

  • Ronny

    Rondo is not going to the Mavs. The only way Rondo leaves is if one of the bottom teams (I'm looking at you Bobcats) offers an unprotected 2014 draft pick that ensures us a lotto pick that isn't our own possible one. Philadelphia got a better deal than that for Jrue Holiday, and he's a worse player on a worse contract (albeit isn't recovering from acl surgery, hence why they got Noel).

  • talesofjp28

    Trading Rondo, as much as I hate to say it, may not be a terrible course of action. Rondo is thick headed, and if he doesn't want anything to do with a rebuilding process, it will show up on the court.

  • jpbl1976

    You know, it's funny: I don't know why any team would want to trade an All-Star/All-NBA Point Guard in their prime. To paraphrase what Larry Legend said when he was interviewed by Simmons: in the current point-guard dominant era, when you have one of the best point guards in the league, you keep him.

    I seriously don't know why Rondo gets so much scorn from Celtics fans. Did he snub you guys for autographs or something? I really couldn't care less about crap like that. What I care about is production. Sure, the Lakers played off of Rondo in 2010 but we would not even be in the Finals that year if Rondo hadn't carried us against Cavs in 2010 — and Rondo very nearly carried us to the Finals in 2012. In 2011, we lost to Miami because Ainge stupidly decided to retool the team in the middle of the season and Wade Kung-Fu'd Rondo's elbow. People also forget that Rondo had a very good Game 6 in the 2008 clincher — Phil Jackson even pointed it out during the post-game interviews.

    As much as we love talking about Chris Paul — and I'm a fan of his just like others in this thread — Rondo has had more team success than him: 2 NBA Finals, an NBA championship and several ECF appearances — playing in significant roles. This isn't some scrub who just rode on the coattails of Truth, Ticket and Ray-Ray. Rondo isn't Matt Maloney.

    Of that list of point guards that has generated so many comments:

    1. Rondo is just as good a passer as Chris Paul and probably a little bit better as a rebounder. Heck, he's probably the best rebounder on that list. Deron Williams is only a shadow of his Utah days. I am willing to make a bet with anyone that his production with Pierce/KG and that team won't be better than Rondo's was. Williams just isn't that kind of a player anymore, regardless of what his late-season run may have convinced you of.

    I love Kryie but, as good as he is, he just isn't wired to put together a 29-18-13 night like Rondo did during game 4 of the 2010 Conference semis. Neither are Westbrook, Tony Parker, Lillard or Curry. Seriously, of all those players, the only one who could probably put those numbers up is CP3.

    2. The only area where most of those guys is seemingly better than Rondo is in scoring — and not by much. There's two things we need to say about that:

    a. Unless you're a casual basketball fan, you know that scoring isn't the only important thing in basketball, otherwise those rec league scoring champs would all be in the NBA. Things like playmaking, rebounding and individual defense are just as important to the overall game. In those three areas, none of those guys — not CP3, not Westbrook and certainly not Curry or Deron are better than Rondo. On top of that, Rondo has consistently been among the league leaders in steals the past 5 years, even leading the league in 2010. You're smoking something pretty potent if you think Rondo is not at least in the Top 5 of those guys.

    b. For much of his career (5 of his 7 pro years included the Big Three and 2 of 7 had Pierce), Rondo has been asked to be a playmaker rather than a scorer. As a consequence, he probably hasn't put as much work into developing his shot as he should have — but he clearly started to last season. Last year, his shooting from mid-range overall was above the league average, especially in the area above the free-throw line. The notable exception was on the right side of the floor: http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerI….

    I would say that the most worrisome area, scoring-wise, is that Rondo was just average at finishing at the hoop last year when the Celtics needed him to be elite in that area. I'm not as worried about the three point area because like Tony Parker, Rondo seems to have a knack for making shots from that area during critical junctures, despite not being considered lights-out shooters from deep (remember Game 7 of the 2012 EC semis against Philly after Pierce had fouled out?).

  • jpbl1976

    [.. continued]:

    Finally, people keep talking about Rondo's maturity but how can any of you forget Pierce's pouting? It took the Truth around 7 years to get there, leadership-wise — when he didn't quit on the team despite the tanking of 2006-2007 and there was all this talk of trading him.

    After all the success we've had with Rondo as our guy, why aren't you folks willing to give him the same benefit of the doubt? A lot of Rondo's bad behaviour is from his competitiveness: he can't stand losing — that's a trait he shares with Celtics greats like Bird and Russell and yet because someone (probably Doc Rivers' agent or Danny himself) reported that Rondo had a blow-up with Doc (who quit on the Celtics, regardless of whatever spin on the matter there is), people want to run him out of town.

    Sure, there are insane times when Rondo has passed-up a wide-open layup to pad his assist totals but you contrast those times with how Rondo has performed on the biggest and brightest of stages.

    What's more, Rondo is apparently popular with and respected by the younger Celtics guys like Green, Sully and Avery. To me, that's a strong foundation you don't want to mess with. Moreover, assuming we do get Wiggins — as good as he could become, he'll only be one piece. Who's going to be the other star on the team if not Rondo? I suppose Jeff Green has the potential but I'd like to see him do what he did post-ASB last season for a whole year before I'm confident enough to assert that.

    We already have one piece in place — some teams don't even have one or, like Dallas, have an AGING one. We have one in his prime — sure, he's coming off a major injury — but he is still our best player and one of the very best players in the league. He isn't going to win Mr. Cuddly or the Doc Rivers award for spinning the media but was Larry Legend all that cuddly?

    At the end of it all, I'll always remember how good Rondo has been for the Celtics and I'll miss him if Ainge (stupidly) trades him for what amount to be a bag of chips and dip.

    [Speaking of Ainge, at this point, I'd have to say he's on the clock: if he doesn't turn the team into a contender quickly, Wyc has to let him go, right?]

    • Phil

      Holy wall of text…

      First of all, I don't think many fans want to run Rondo out of town. Fans like myself (who would be okay/welcome a deal,) think that way because he's the Celtics' only remaining asset aside from maybe Avery Bradley, and he's not bringing anything back that will seriously alter the franchise. This team is at least two years, and probably more, away from even trying to win, let alone getting anywhere. If you can trade Rondo now to shorten that rebuilding process, or make three years from now brighter than it is, you have to think about it.

      I can also say that the reason Rondo's past accomplishments aren't being talked about is because Pierce (and to a lesser extent KG,) were just traded. What Rondo did for this franchise means nothing compared to them. You can't accept the Pierce trade without also accepting a potential Rondo trade. You either hold on to the past or you don't, and our decisions have been made for us by the front office.

      Regarding Rondo against the league's other elite PGs (Paul, Parker, Westbrook, Rose, Irving,) you can't just look at individual numbers. The normal fan argument is something like 'Rondo has the most assists and rebounds, Paul has the most points, therefore Rondo wins.' That's not how you grade PGs at all. You have to look at how he affects the team's offense overall. Which assists are leading to high percentage buckets, how often is he handling the ball in the pick and pop. Stuff that you're not going to break down by looking at a box score. My favorite metric is how well the team plays without their PG. The Clippers collapse when Paul sits, the Celtics got better when Rondo sat last year.

      It's impossible to convince someone of Rondo's shortcomings if they're going off a volume numbers perspective, but just think back to how many assists he either farmed for last year, or how many of them were on long 2s that you can get any time, Rondo or not. Rondo puts up the most assists, but does Carmelo Anthony putting up the most points prove anything to you? Also, being a top 5 PG doesn't really matter. Those 5 are super elite, and five is just an arbitrary number. You can be sixth on that list and still be a vital piece to a championship team.

      We're talking about building a franchise around Rondo. There are a lot of reasons to be wary of that. He had a horrendous year pre-injury last year. You can talk about his defensive ability all you want, but go watch that Kings game where Isaiah Thomas torched him like he was Damian Lillard. That happened all last year, and it has to change if he's going to crack that list.

      That lack of scoring you kind of danced around is a huge issue when you're missing 35 points per game from KG and Pierce. Are you confident that Rondo's gonna come in driving for FT attempts and hitting shots? Because I kind of think he's just gonna pass to Bass and Bradley for more jump shots.

      That competitive fire is also a big negative when we're talking about tanking for the next two-three years. If he comes in and sulks through next year, he kills his trade value, yet you're still gonna have to give him a big contract in two years in order to build your next contender around him.

      That contract is a huge deal. He's on a bargain deal right now, but the Cs are worried about 2016. Rondo will be on a max deal then. I love Rajon Rondo 13m a year PG. I don't like Rajon Rondo, max player and franchise guy.

      It's a huge risk to build around Rondo, and a lot needs to change in his game if he's gonna be the #1 guy. I'm more comfortable letting someone else take that chance and hope the Cs can start over with another #1 guy.

      • dasein

        What this guy said.

        Rondo is a great player…sometimes. Even his biggest supporters must admit that his effort is inconsistent. Your team isn't going anywhere if your alpha dog is only going to bring it when he's on national TV.

        I don't think anyone is trying to run him out of town, or saying that he must be traded. What I will say is that given that there is already a gigantic blast crater in this roster, you have to at least consider it. Maybe keeping him is best for the franchise going forward, but maybe there are better options on the trade market. It's at least worth considering no?

  • Chief

    Well said jpbl1976

  • BeanMan

    Phil is absolutely right.

    Which teams could possibly give up two or three first-round picks in exchange for Rondo?

  • James Patrick

    I just don't get it. Why do we have to do such a hard reboot when other teams stay consistent. The Spurs, Lakers, you think they'd ever trade Duncan and Bryant? I'm old enough to remember the last time we tanked a whole season and came up with nothing. M.L. Carr was our coach and the following year we were supposed to get Duncan in the draft but the Spurs got him. All these draft picks are great, but it all comes down to luck. I'm just not all that confident in our draft picks. There's a whole lot of IF's going on.

    • Phil

      One other team has stayed consistent. Just because the Spurs have been near perfectly run for decades 'and' had a huge amount of luck doesn't mean it's going to happen to anyone else any time soon. The Lakers sucked for a few years in the mid 2000s, and were very close to blowing it up before the Pau trade. They have tons of advantages over the 29 other teams, yet their future now looks a lot like the Celtics' does. Kobe may get to ride it out and retire with the Lakers, but it's not gonna be pretty.

      Luck plays a huge role in everything related to sports, from who wins the lottery to who gets injured to what shots go in. You just have to put yourself in the best position to get lucky, hence a ton of draft picks.

    • Swissflix

      LA was lucky that Shaq was so desperate to go to Hollywood. All they had to do was throw money at him. Does not make their management any good. Kobe on the other hand was a good move, of course. Which makes ML Carr look bad because they were working him out. So i do believe picks can work out.

      • dasein

        Didn't Kobe demand to be traded to the Lakers? Or at least say he didn't want to play in NO…I seem to remember something like that happened.

  • Swissflix

    Isn't Ainge in a perfect position with Rondo, kind of like the Spurs with Robinson in 1997: Injured superstar, team super bad without him, tanking for that prized draft pick? So there is no need to rush back Rondo, let alone trade him. Meanwhile Olynik, Bradley, Sully and also Wallace just get to play, play and play some more. That way Wallace can regain his stats and become tradeable?

  • hax

    Last time we tanked, we won the championship the year after. Hearing reports about a sign and trade for Josh Smith though. Is Danny not tanking and actually putting a team together?

  • James H

    Trading Rondo all kind of depends on how Ainge is planning to rebuild the roster. If he is primarily going to do it via the draft, then trading Rondo makes a ton of sense. Building through the draft takes time, probably in the area of 4-6 years before you are approaching serious contention. Rondo is 27 – so he'll be 32 in five years, and given the beating he takes probably a rough 32. Don't think Ainge isn't taking that into consideration. Now if Ainge is planning on using the bulk of his draft picks to reconstruct via free agency, thereby shortening the recovery time, then holding onto Rondo makes more sense. My question is does Ainge really know which way he's going to go?

  • roadsidenotes

    People: If Ainge were going to tank for Wiggins, Rondo would be gone by now, because the offer from Dallas assumed that's what Danny is trying to do here.

    There are people here who think that Ainge is an idiot. This post isn't for those people.

    Ainge is smart enough to know that tanking for a draft pick is a bad idea.

    Consider: You trade assets for garbage, and then draft one 'transformative' player, and he's surrounded by what? Garbage. And if you don't get that player, you're really screwed. The better way to assemble a contender is via smart draft picks (e.g. Tony Parker at #28), trading young assets you've drafted for mid-career assets of higher caliber (i.e. Al Jefferson for Garnett, Jeff Green for Ray Allen) to teams that have to make a move, and picking up midpriced free agents.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Celtics make the playoffs next year, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ainge bundled some of this pile of draft picks to get into the lottery next year. Or to move up in the lottery if they miss the playoffs: Say swapping picks, plus the better of the two 2015 picks to move from, say #12 to #7?

  • BeanMan

    While I suspect we will trade Rondo and tank this season, we still have Green, Bradley and a ton of first-round picks (currently nine in the next five years, and this number may increase if we move Rondo). Imagine landing Wiggins, and hitting on 2-3 of our multiple draft picks in the next few years. The Heat Dynasty will be long gone in 4-5 years, and we'll be in prime position to compete for a championship year-in, year-out for a decade or so.

    The big barriers: We need to get lucky in the lottery next year and we need to draft well in all of our slots. Like Roadsidenotes noted, Tony Parker went 28th overall. Rondo went 21st overall. Stockton, arguably the greatest passer/stealer in NBA history, went 16th overall. More recently, Monta Ellis went 40th overall and Boozer went 34th overall. In other words, you can get quality players ANYWHERE in the first-round (and maybe get incredibly lucky in the second round from time to time). Obviously luck is involved, but I have confidence we can nail at least 2-3 of our draft picks in the next half decade.

    I envy the Spurs, a team that has built themselves smartly through the draft over the last 15-20 years. It is high time for somebody to emulate their formula. Why not us?

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