I'm a huge, huge Rajon Rondo fan, so it is very, very difficult for me to be objective in this. With that said, I will do my best. I've ignored this rumor long enough, hoping that it would go away. But it is time for me to confront it, analyze it, and do my best to look at it from all sides.
First of all, the primary rumor that I'm focusing on is the largely straightforward Pau Gasol for Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal (to make salaries close enough to matching to work). Other variations and players could swing this as being more or less favorable for each side.
The cons for me are easy, so I'll do those first.
Rondo is a young, 3 time All Star pass-first point guard that plays very good defense and buys into the system that Doc runs. Those don't grow on trees and he would be extremely hard to replace. Gasol is over 30 years old and makes $8M or so more a year than Rondo. So much of the coveted cap space for this summer would disappear with this trade.
Gasol seems to complain about not getting shot attempts and would have to fight 3 Hall of Famers for the ball this year. It isn't a slam dunk that this trade would make us contenders this year and there's a good chance it could hurt us for the future. So worst of both worlds.
Oh yeah, and another big negative is making the Lakers (the Los Angeles Lakers of all teams) better in the short and long run. Watching Rondo rifling passes to Kobe, extending his career a couple years and perhaps starting their own little dynasty with Bynum (or worse Howard) would be too much for me to take.
With all that said, I can actually see a lot of pros to this rumored deal as well - now that I've allowed it to sink in a bit. (after the poll and break)
First of all, Gasol is 31, so he's not exactly on his last legs. And anyone on the same court with Kobe is going to have a feeling like they aren't getting the ball enough because it is true. Anyone that watched Gasol and Bynum play keep away from us in the Finals a couple years ago (and a few weeks ago) knows that he would be a welcome solution to our rebounding woes.
Secondly, if you make the assumption that Dwight Howard and Deron Williams are going elsewhere, then there's nobody else on the market worth throwing money at for the sake of spending cap space (like Dumars did a few years back). So with that in mind, a trade for an All Star center makes a lot of sense. You'd still have some room under the cap to bring back Brandon Bass and probably Jeff Green.
The Celtics would then be in the market for a point guard, and nobody would be able to replace all that Rondo does for this team. However, the case could be made that Rondo creates quite a few issues for the team as well. Including sagging defenses daring him to shoot, and the liability he is at the free throw line and often in 4th quarters.
Finally, there's the elephant in the room regarding Rondo's attitude and prickly personality. I'd venture to guess that only a select few reading this post (hi Celtics insiders!) is close enough to the situation to know for sure how much of an issue this is. I'm not an insider and frankly I don't really care to be because I'd rather not stress out about sources and wondering who's lying to me.
But enough "insiders" in the media keep bringing this up and it is something that is worth considering. If the team has soured on him or in any way determined that he's not the best guy to build around, then it makes sense to get what you can for him (and an All Star center with more rings than anyone on the Celtics is a pretty good return).
So going forward, the team would still have Pierce and Gasol under contract through the 2013/2014 season (and we know how much Danny loves lining up those expiring contracts). If the guys all got along and liked the new dynamic, I could see Ray Allen re-upping for another couple of years and maybe even Kevin Garnett as well. At least KG wouldn't have to play much center anymore and if he could just give us 25 minutes a night, maybe that would be enough for everyone.
Danny has said that he's not interested in building through the draft. He efforts to land Chris Paul and David West this offseason indicate that he's interested in getting back to winning sooner rather than later. So perhaps this idea of a rebuilding year next season is only the backup plan. He would probably rather retool on the fly and get back to contending as soon as possible. And if it doesn't work out with Gasol, he could always try to flip him for assets in the offseason.
So, am I simply talking myself into another one of Danny's moves? Perhaps, but at the end of the day I'm still against the trade because I believe in Rondo and I'm not so sure what we'd be getting with Gasol. The point here is that I can see this from the other side as well. And besides, I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. So all we can do is wait and see, ...and follow twitter and hoopshype and ESPN and the CB trade forums and of course refresh CelticsBlog every 5 minutes, just in case.