While not being in a position to bid for the top free agents, the Detroit Pistons do have plenty of cap space and ambition, including some expiring contracts to throw around in trades, putting them as one of the suitors for Rajon Rondo, the point guard the Boston Celtics said they weren’t trading away.
Danny Ainge has said the Boston Celtics aren’t planning on tanking, but we’ve seen them do it before (in 2006-2007, finishing 24-58). Danny Ainge has said he isn’t planning on trading Rajon Rondo, but with Doc Rivers gone, and then Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce gone, it’s only one step away from a complete overhaul by taking away everyone who has been involved in the last six seasons.
The Pistons aren’t in the race for Dwight Howard despite their cap space, and aren’t in the race for Josh Smith, because even though he doesn’t mind playing small forward, it’s hard envisioning him, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the same lineup, which means the Pistons are more likely to try and add a guard or wing player to their rotation.
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Pistons have already contacted the Celtics regarding the All-Star point guard.
Rondo is coming off an ACL tear, and has two years left on his contract, worth $24.4 million. The Pistons can trade away either Rodney Stuckey and/or Chalrie Villanueva, both on expiring contracts worth $8.5 million next season, although this all depends on what the Celtics decide to do. There’s a chance they change their minds about Rondo (nothing is set in stone), but probably will be asking for Greg Monroe in return.
The Pistons don’t want to give up the center, but might not have to, if the Celtics win the race for Josh Smith in free agency, which will make adding a player to the frontcourt less than determinal for Boston in their talks with Detroit.
The Pistons are looking to bring back Calderon, but would give that up if they had a reasonable shot at Rondo, who would probably come along with a bad contract (Gerald Wallace or Courtney Lee), something the Pistons can afford to accommodate. But sending away Monroe for him? Highly unlikely, especially with Rondo coming off his injury, and losing popularity and fast due to the recent turn of events in Boston.