As we look ahead to next year and beyond, celtic fans appear to be resigned to one of two options
Option A: Build around Rondo
Option B: If we can get value for Rondo, trade him
I'll start with option B:
I completely agree. If Danny can get value for a player he should make the trade. However, every general manager is always thinking the same thing. It's like we are saying, hey Danny, if someone is offering you $1.20 for $1.00, make the deal. Well what GM (besides Chris Wallace) is going to offer $1.20 for $1.00? None. I trust Danny to make a good deal when it presents itself, but I don't think any such deal is on the table. So I'm operating under the assumption that Option B is not on the table.
Now option A:
I love Rondo (Repeat: LOVE), but I don't think he can be the best player on a championship team. His strengths and flaws have been well documented on other posts so I wont get too much into them. But whether you think Rondo is a top 5 or top 10 point guard is irrelevant. For the sake of argument, let's just say Rondo is a top 3 point guard. Here are a list of some teams built around superstar point guards:
The Early 00's Sixers with AI (might be considered a 2 guard)
The mid-late 00's Suns with Nash
The late 90's/early 00's Sonics with Gary Payton
The mid-late 00's hornets with Chris Paul
These teams all have one thing in common: they never won a championship. Kidd carried the Nets to the finals but got dominated each time. AI got to the finals once with the sixers. Nash really only got close once when he had amare and joe johnson, and may have gotten robbed of a title with the spurs controversy. Gary Payton made one finals appearance with the Sonics but didn't win. Chris Paul never really had a lot of help around him in N'orleans but made one conference finals. The last 8 starting championship point guards have been old watered down Jason Kidd, Derek Fisher, Derek Fisher, Rondo, Tony Parker, old watered down Gary Payton, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups. Thats a mix between bad (Fish) serviceable (old watered down guys) and very good (billups, parker) but none dominated the position at the time they won a title.
So even if you think Rondo is an elite elite point guard, its very very difficult to win a championship with a point guard as your marquee player. Option A is off the table.
So what does that leave the Celtics with? I present option C: keep Rondo and build around someone else.
The reason Rondo is so valuable to us is because he only makes 10-11 million dollars a year. At that money, he doesn't need to be the franchise cornerstone. Keeping him in green gives the C's room to sign 2 or 3 guys who make more money than him.
So going forward what does Danny do? I think two teams have modeled the future for him - the nuggets and the sixers.
Would you say the Nuggets are built around Ty Lawson? No. But he stirs the drink for them. He runs the break with Dinillo, Nene, and the rest of the athletes, and Denver has become one of the most competitive teams in the West, and set up for a bright future.
Would you say the sixers are built around Iguodala? No. But he's the glue guy that holds the team together and they are one of the most competitive teams in the East, and set up for a bright future.
Now, you might say that neither the nuggets nor the sixers are in a position to win the title, and i would agree. But, they have the young, valuable assets that they could trade for a superstar down the road. I think Ainge should try to build the next edition of the Celtics in the same fashion as the sixers and nuggets. It's the best way to stay competitive immediately. Like Jeff said earlier today, Rondo has never played with stallions, and I hope he gets a chance to in the future.