As much as the Boston Celtics are trying to deny it, Rajon Rondo is a big reason in the team’s breaking up over the last two summers, leaving them on the verge of becoming one the worst teams in the NBA, and to avoid a future filled with rebuilding seasons, trading the point guard might be the best choice.
Rondo has a big contract – almost $25 million for the next couple of years. Same as Kevin Garnett, who is also almost a decade older than Rondo. But Garnett isn’t directly associated with Ray Allen and Doc Rivers leaving the Celtics, 12 months apart, turning a team that reached game 7 of the Conference Finals in 2012 into someone it’s hard to see making the playoffs next year.
The obvious way to go is start picking apart the team and getting rid of the old parts. Doc Rivers is gone because he didn’t want to be part of the rebuilding phase, but unlike what Danny Ainge has said (That Rivers’ decision had nothing to do with Rondo), knowing that the problematic point guard is going to be his leader in the dressing room wasn’t exactly a selling point Rivers was willing to deal with.
Rivers didn’t come out as the classiest of individuals in this whole affair, but that is besides the point. Rajon Rondo might be one of the best point guards in the NBA, but one with clear limitations, especially due to his inability to score mid range jumpers or from the line.
And when you take a look at other elite point guards around the league – Derrick Rose (when he was healthy), Chris Paul, Deron Williams (without the ankle problems) Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker, you’d trust each one of them to lead your team before you give the keys to Rondo as the number one player. You see one of them as the best player on your team, but not Rondo.
And for that reason alone the Celtics should consider trading Rondo first. His value and his contract means they can get a good player for him, although that might need a little convincing and creativity from the Celtics’ management. Regardless of the future of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and the Celtics will have a better season with the both of them without Rondo than with Rondo but without the both of them.
The Celtics aren’t going to get anything but cap relief by getting rid of Pierce and Garnett. They might end up with something, maybe even more than one first round draft picks (that are going to matter in the coming years for the Celtics), if they start shopping Rondo around. You usually don’t give up the best player on your team for a bunch of mediocre ones or draft picks, but in the case of the Celtics and Rondo, scaring away two key figures in their recent success, the ceiling with him is too low to gamble on him as the leader and star of the team.