Danny Ainge can't actually trade Rajon Rondo now... Can he?
Keving Garnett and Ray Allen will be free agents after this season, and are expected to be gone. If they return, it will be for far less money than they're currently making, and in a diminished role.
Their current best player, and the only player on the current roster around which they could truly build a championship contender? Point guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo's one of the most dynamic players in the league, and he's signed through 2014-15. He's an outstanding distributor, one of the best rebounding point guards in the league, and can score when he needs to. His defense is outstanding, and his only weakness is his shooting. He can get to the hoop as well as almost anyone, but he's really not an outside threat at all.
Overall, Rondo's a top 5 point guard in the NBA. He was even listed as the 12th best player to build a team around, in a poll among NBA players.
So of course, Celtics GM Danny Ainge is considering trading him.
Is it a wise choice? Some think so. The Celtics will have a ton of extra money to throw around this offseason, and they'll have the chance to sign someone like Deron Williams(10th on that same list, for what it's worth), if they end up finding a trade partner for Rondo.
One of the primary concerns, however, is that the Celtics won't be able to land a top-tier free agent, no matter how much money they're throwing around. Boston just isn't as appealing as cities like Brooklyn (where the Nets are heading), LA, Orlando, Chicago and others.
The Celtics can either use Rondo to bring in a star player via trade, in which case they'd probably have to give up more, even if it's just for a few-month rental like Dwight Howard, with no guarantee that he'll sign long-term. Or, they can keep Rondo, and hope that players want to play with him badly enough that they'll sign with the team.
To make things even more complicated, Rondo had a career game last night, with 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds. On one hand, his trade value might never be higher. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson have ever had 17 or more points, rebounds an assists in the same game.
If the Celtics trade Rondo, who can they actually get? They tried for Chris Paul, and were rebuffed. Ainge is taking phone calls now, and there's no telling what he can get on the open market.
Is it a mistake to get rid of Rondo, especially when there's a chance that they could bring in one or two top-notch free agents in the offseason? Or are they doomed in free agent negotiations, and is it time to just blow it up and start over? Ainge got lucky a few years ago when he built the Big 3. Let's see if he can do it again.