LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics lays the ball up over Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images)
I hesitate to even give this credence. I am convinced that Peter Vecsey is a clown who no longer has many legitimate sources, so he resorts to making up rumors. Still, this is out there, so feel free to discuss.
If the Lakers indeed are interested in signing Rasheed Wallace — a logical step-down from flirting with Gilbert Arenas—it lends credence to the Rajon Rondo/Jermaine O’Neal-Pau Gasol swap I keep hearing. Lord knows they’re desperate for a point guard and Rondo is exceedingly obtainable and Kobe Bryant loves his "any means possible" style.
This follows the probably made up rumor from Hoopsworld we heard several weeks ago "reporting" a similar deal was in the works. I just don't buy that either of these sources have any credibility.
That said, does the trade make sense? First, for the Lakers, I don't see the motivation to trade Pau. Their "twin towers" up front is probably their biggest strength, even beyond Kobe. Replacing Pau with Rasheed is like a sick joke for Lakers fans. They'd be going from an elite power forward who scores in the post, grabs rebounds, and is highly efficient to an out-of-shape chucker who is allergic to playing down low. That makes no sense to me. Similarly, I can't see Kobe and Rondo thriving playing next to one another. Kobe needs the ball, and asking Rondo to contribute on offense without the ball is just a bad, bad idea. The Lakers are going to give up their best big man and handicap themselves by playing 4-on-5 offense for long stretches? Sign me up.
For the Celtics the motivation would seemingly be a little more clear. They'd be acquiring Pau to win in the immediate future, or to flip him to another team for assets. A front line of Pau/KG/Pierce is probably the best in the NBA, and having a reliable post option would help our offense. If we could find a competent PG to come in, our team would be better in the present.
However, do you sacrifice a 26 year old, 3-time all-star to win in the present, when the present involves an old, injured, largely unathletic team? Pau would eat up over $19 million in cap space in each of 2013 and 2014. That would largely take us out of free agency this off-season, and would almost obligate us to re-sign our own free agents and to come back with the same team next year. Does that make sense?
Ultimately, I don't know if this deal makes sense for either team. If I'm Danny Ainge, I'm very tempted, because I'm a "win now" type of guy. However. such a plan could easily backfire, and could set this team back multiple seasons if it didn't work out.