So often we focus on who we are going to trade in this transition year but another question is: Who should we keep for the next run at the trophy?
I can see any number of scenarios but one that makes me more nervous than any other is the thought of Sullinger being packaged in a deal with players and picks for a star like Melo. I think Sullinger brings the toughness and tenacity that is the cornerstone of any team looking to establish a culture of winning for a sustained period of time (cough) Kevin Garnett.
The idea of upgrading the roster for a run at the playoffs in 2015 I think is a year too soon. I think we should be looking at 2016 as the year to wheel and deal. At that point, you will have had a year to evaluate the 2015 rookies and see how they fit into your plans long term. Hype and speculation about the 2016 draft class should be corresponding nicely with a decline in the Brooklyn Nets performance. This is the time to strike. Young assets plus desirable picks equals star player(s)
Some might say the window starts in 2017? Why so long? Well, the turn around we saw in 2007-2008 was a once in a lifetime heist by Ainge that is hard to repeat. Look at OKC. It has taken them 4 years to reach the title round with arguably the best young talent in the league this decade.
Keeping Rondo is a tough call. I think Ainge is jockeying to restore his pre-injury value so that at some point in the next 2 years he can decide to lock him up for the next window or acquire younger assets. Just don't look for Ainge to pull the wool over owners eyes like he did in the KG deal. That was a once in a lifetime move.
To sum up, I think we are in for a couple more years of rebuilding. It would be great to be contending in 2015, but I think that is asking too much. I want to see Sullinger as the cornerstone of the Celtics next championship window. I think Rondo is a tough decision and Danny could pull the trigger if he can get a deal that puts us closer to a title run in 2017-2019.
We saw how heartbreaking it is to have star players in decline at the end of a championship window 2012-2013. You can supplement them with complementary pieces but B talent doesn't win you the title when your A talent is a step slower. I think if we had multiple rising stars in their early to mid 20's or an early 30's Rondo in 2018, we have to go with the former. But its close. I'm just not convinced Rondo has the game to take a beating much past his early 30's. However, it is Rondo and he's a star. So as his big brother KG would say, anything is possible.