Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Watching tonight's game had me questioning a bit of Rondo's overall value to the roster. Of course this is the assist leading All-Star PG Rondo we are talking about here. Just take a second to imagine. No I'm not entirely crazy either.
No one can deny Rondo's ability to be the navigator on offense for this team. Easily the most fun Celtic to watch with the ball in his hands. He IS one of the best guards in the league, and when he really turns it on, he is untouchable (oh boy I hope we make the ECFs again!). Rajon Rondo is the future of the Celtics organization. Right?
Well let's back up a second, because at this rate (pre-Avery Bradley, which I will address in a minute), Boston doesn't exactly have a great shot at competing with LeBron or any of the major contenders in the East. We've seen a season with a decline in rim protection, rebounds (yeah, even more) and most importantly the tenacious D we all saw carry last year's roster. Avery Bradley is shaking off the rust to get back right where he left off, as an elite perimeter defensive specialist. Certainly the defense will start to mold, much like last year when we saw Ray start coming off the bench. Bradley is great, but he isn't going to be snagging 8-9 rebounds a game for us. Defense leads to offense, but we still sorely lack a quality frontcourt; the kind that we had with big Perk (and my personal favorite, Leon Powe.. GO BEARS!). Honestly, who besides KG really strikes fear in the paint?
So I think it's safe to say any well informed Celtics fan would love to see Danny Ainge grab someone who WILL clean the glass and bolster our win-now frame.
This is where it gets interesting. Most realistic scenarios revolve around Gortat and Varejao, and a rumor mill of Danny praying by his bedside for Demarcus Cousins. Gortat would provide a presence, but would best be sough after this season as he doesn't seem to like Phoenix too much. Varejao is another solid piece, but he's getting older and more injury-prone by the minute. I'd rather pass and keep the youngins we got this year.
Cousins isn't happy in Sac, but the Maloofs aren't that dumb to give him away for the C's bench. No one is going to drop a franchise center at discount because he's had attitude problems. This kid is a monster, and with a serious contender will cause absolute mayhem in the playoffs. Celtic's fans drool at the thought of the two bad boys Rondo and Cousins teaming up for a run at the 'ship. I love it too, but is it a real possibility without trading actual important assets to Sac... probably not. No GM would want to be remembered for possibly trading away his young core for a center who might not even work out in green, thus spiraling the Celtics straight into lottery land when Rondo wants out. I mean Danny already shot us all in the foot with the Perkins trade, but he had to something without letting Perk walk. It would be blasphemy to let Bradley, Sully and the gang walk too.
And now we arrive back at the topic of our friend Mr. Rondo. The "leader" of the beloved Celtics. The untouchable dish man himself, right? Well we can't trade him... he IS the team... right? The franchise, the future eh? You build a franchise around a player that makes the most difference in a game. There's a reason Pierce, KG and Ray were the Big 3. They made the biggest difference in games. Paul Pierce is the freaking TRUTH, Ray will go down as one of the best shooting guards of all time, and KG's legacy speaks for itself; see the statistic known as "win shares" in the history of the NBA.
These guys made a difference. What kind of difference is Rondo making right now trying to run a half-court set while no one is scared of his jumper? Take a look at Rondo's ON/OFF court numbers.
As we can all see, Rondo's difference is actually marginal at best. In fact, we play a little better D without him.
So why not dish him off while he's still one of the hottest PGs in the league, especially if he truly has little value to us? Is this really blasphemy as a loyal Celtic fan... or could this team go in a new direction? Are the flashy layups worth the technicals, suspensions and turnovers? Nobody can question KG's effort on the defensive end, but do we see Rondo laying everything he has out there for us?
Now, what if we could pull off this trade (as suggested by Bill Simmons of ESPN).
What do we come out with? The answer to our frontcourt problems in Demarcus Cousins (sorry, drooling again here), more defense in Chuck Hayes and two very young and talented guards in Kyle Lowry and the Jimmer. Another solid alternative to this trade would be sending Bass instead of Lee, and letting Sac hang on to the Fredette. Sac might be the holdup, not wanting to deal out Cousins only to replace him with Melo, but nothing a few draft picks shouldn't fix.
Either way, I don't really if any of these teams would turn this offer down..
Any thoughts? And before you start nixing me to the depths, please keep your arguments rational. I don't need any "yur stupid and Rondo is god" postings. Remember, all hypothetical.
Don't get me wrong, Rondo is a crunch time player, and I would absolutely HATE to trade him, but remember... he was the weak link the last time we won a banner.