Over the weekend, multiple media outlets reported that the New York Knicks were making a somewhat desperate push for Rajon Rondo — a report which made some sense, since the Knicks have started the season in disappointing fashion and could probably use an upgrade over Raymond Felton at the point guard slot.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald talked to Danny Ainge and had this report:
The recent spate of rumors regarding the possible trade of Rajon Rondo are not based in any Celtic reality.
“I haven’t talked to any teams about Rajon Rondo,” Celts’ president of basketball operation Danny Ainge told the Herald this morning.
He has, however, fielded a number of calls wanting to now if the rumors are true.
“It’s frustrating,” Ainge said.
Well then. Even the most staunch pro-tank advocates would hate this deal. Just because a team is rebuilding doesn’t mean they are having a fire sale on their best pieces, assuming some modicum of intelligence on the part of their GM. Ainge is not stupid. Even if his goal is to lose every game this season, he could get considerably more value for Rondo in a draft night deal than he could in the proposed Knicks trade.
The reported deal was for Iman Shumpert — New York’s inexplicably doghoused guard and also their only real trade asset (who, as previously mentioned, isn’t getting a chance to showcase his skills because of the aforementioned doghousing. Yay Knicks!) It’s not hard to imagine that other teams heard that Shumpert was the centerpiece in a Rondo trade and thought “We would be willing to give more.” Hence the “number of calls” and hence the “frustration” on Ainge’s part.
Any deal that moved Rondo, at the moment, would be ridiculous, and it’s good to hear Ainge denying any potential dealings.
Perhaps more intriguing (because, frankly, it’s considerably more plausible) was Chris Broussard’s report, in this tweet, which tags the Knicks as a team that might take on Gerald Wallace. The cost would be steep.
While C’s not moving Rondo, they would take back Amare in deal n which they could unload longer deals of Gerald Wallace &/or Courtney Lee
Before your head understandably explodes with anger, this deal would have nothing to do with Amar’e's potential production which is all but a sad afterthought at this point. Rather, this deal would be about Amar’e's $21 million/year salary which expires in 2015. That expiration would coincide with a couple of big free agents that summer, including a pair of top-10 Kevins: Durant and Love, assuming the latter opts out of the last year of his deal.
As proposed by Broussard, the trade doesn’t work. Wallace and Lee’s contracts are not large enough to equal Amare’s, nor would a deal involving those two make much sense for New York. However, a deal including Wallace and Kris Humphries might make sense for both parties. Wallace’s contract is bad, and one year longer than Stoudemire’s, but he’s also probably more useful in terms of actual production for the Knicks than STAT at this point. In addition, the stretch provision in his deal remains an option for whichever team employs him. Meanwhile, Humphries’ expiring would give the Knicks about $11 million in cap room next summer. The Celtics, essentially, would be killing their cap flexibility for one more season (a season in which they aren’t likely to be contenders anyway) in exchange for a LOT of room two years down the road.
This, however, is all speculation. We will keep you posted on this story if it develops beyond its current stage.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.