It was quiet on the Rajon Rondo front while he was out injured, but now that he’s back, it’s time for trade talk again, and with most believing that the Boston Celtics are looking to ship him somewhere else, possibly to the Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks.
According to Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News it’s going to happen, but let us not jump on that ship just yet. Rondo has played two games for the Celtics since returning, both losses. He’s put up 14 points and 8 assists in a total of 40 minutes. He doesn’t look completely rusty, but there’s no doubt he’s slower at the moment with his moves to the basket and on defense, and still needs time before he sees the court as well as he did prior to the injury.
The Celtics just named him the team captain, so why are they going to trade him all of a sudden? Rondo has a $12.9 million deal next season, meaning he isn’t an expiring deal to ship around (although expiring contracts are harder to move these days). With Boston having 17 picks on the next five drafts, they might not be in need of more draft picks and more building for the future.
However, Rondo has never been portrayed as the nicest or most patient of people. He’s used to play for a winning team, that has goals of making NBA finals and winning championship rings. Suddenly being on a rebuilding project, that in all likelihood is going to take more than just this season but probably next year as well, might not be exactly his cup of tea.
The Celtics aren’t going to make 17 draft picks in the next five years – they’re going to use some of them as trading chips. A team like the Houston Rockets, who have Omer Asik they’re trying to move (allegedly), might be very interested in a first round pick for a center that will be very helpful to the Celtics, who struggle protecting the paint with their rag-tag bunch of pseudo centers and power forwards. ‘How likely is it that it’ll happen?
The Rockets want to win now, which means this year and the next, but they feel something is missing. Involving Lin in a trade might also be an option; something just isn’t meshing right in Houston for him, and he’s better than the point guards the Celtics have. However, Houston don’t want to rock the boat around Harden and Howard too much, while the Dallas Mavericks don’t have quality pieces to use in a trade. The likeliest scenario is Rondo staying without being happy, but a lot of things can happen in the next 30 days or so.