My view on trading Rondo has remained the same since the day the Ubuntu Era sadly came to an end. If the Celtics don't manage to blow off some "fireworks" this offseason, then Rondo should be traded (along with the hefty contract attached to Gerald Wallace) to a team looking to win now. Regardless of whom the Celtics pick in the upcoming drafts, even a blindly optimistic fan won't be labeling us contenders for at least 3 years, at which point our All Star point guard will be 31 years old and coming off his 11th NBA season. Not only would it be foolish to expect Rondo to wait that long but when (if?) the time does come and the celtics are contending in a few years, Rondo will already be on the decline and probably won't fit in with the team of young studs.
Therefore, the Celtics should trade Rondo. The problem with trading him last offseason was that his market value was the lowest it could be with the 27 year-old still recovering from an ACL tear. But if there was something that the Kings reported offer proved, was that there are teams willing to role a dice on Rondo before he fully recovers his All Star form. Danny Ainge must capitalize on this because, as the Pierce and KG trade showed, desperate owners make for great trade partners.
Cue James Dolan and the Knicks.
The Nets' inner-city rivals are desperate to keep Carmelo Anthony. Newly signed GM, Phil Jackson, has already stated his interest in keeping the team's lone All Star in town, and what better way to do that than to take a page from the Clippers' book (I see you Chris Paul) and trade for a Celtic who seems to have become replaceable.
Celtics receive: A. Stoudemire; H. Barnes; T. Hardaway; Knicks' 2018 First Round Pick; Right to swap picks with Knicks in 2015; Warriors' 2019 First Round Pick
Knicks receive: R. Rondo; G. Walalce
Warriors receive: I. Mahinmi; I. Shumpert; P. Prigioni
Pacers receive: K. Bogans
(This trade would go down in the offseason)
Why the Celtics do it
As stated above, barring any major offseason trades, shipping Rondo for a haul of assets seems like the best way to go. In this senario the Celtics would be trading for a potential All-Star in Barnes; a players who's ceiling could top out as an important starter on a championship caliber team in Hardaway and the astronomical expiring of Amar'e Stoudemire whilst also receiving New York's 2018 first round pick, the Warrior's 2019 first-rounder and the right to swap picks with New York in 2015.
Whilst the Celtics probably wont have the chance to swap picks with New York next year, the other two picks involved could be extremely valuable in a few years. It's no secret that any number of factors could mean a team doesn't fulfill future expectations and therefore, trading a pick 4 or 5 years away is a big risk. The Celtics could strike gold with either of those picks and end up with an extra lottery pick.
Seeing as the Celtics would now be out a point guard, the next logical move would be to draft one with this year's first-rounder ... How does Dante Exum/ Marcus Smart sound?
Why the Knicks do it
The entire organization is in panic mode as losing their franchise cornerstone is seeming like a bigger possibility with each given day. But what if they had a chance to keep him ... Earlier this season rumours were flying that stated that Carmelo Anthony wanted the knicks to add Rondo and this could be their one and only chance to fulfill his wish. If you take into account the fact that they also get rid of Stoudemire, who was creating a logjam both in the rotation and on the cap sheet, this move makes total sense. The only downside would be the need for them to take on Gerald Wallace's albatross contract but even he could be used as an expiring in a deal in the summer of 2015.
Why the Warriors do it
It's safe to say Harrison Barnes didn't live up to the expectations he set in the 2012 Playoffs where the former Tar Heel put up 16 points over the Warrior's postseason stint, in the absense of David Lee. In this year's regular season, he averaged under 10 points on 40% shooting from the field. The reason for this: Andre Iguodala. It's hard to fault the Warriors for improving their team with much needed wing defending even if it did come at the expense of Barnes' development. What they must now do is trade the budding young prospect for even more pieces to help them win in the short term.
The addition of Pablo Prigioni as a backup point guard (a role that hasn't been adequately filled since Jarret Jack left), Ian Mahinmi as a backup for Bogut's brittle frame and Shumpert for additional wing depth would definitely lift the Warrior's status in the Western Conference's hierarchy.
Why the Pacers do it
This offseason Lance Stephenson is due a new contract. Lance was notoriously snubbed from the All Star game this year but the combo guard has still overcome all expectations set for him since the beginning of his pro career and therefore he should expect an eight figure salary. The problem with this is that Lance is one of the rare unrestricted free agents coming off his rookie deal which means he can sign anywhere. And while he has said in the past he'd like to remain a Pacer, you can't really imagine him taking $5 million less just to remain in Indianapolis especially when so many intriguing oportunities seem ready to materialize.
That's what this deal comes down to for the Pacers - re-signing Lance. If today was the day, they could offer him a contract worth $44 Million over 5 years (8.8 per year). Market value for Stephenson right now, however, is somewhere in the $11M-$14M a year range. Albeit, after trading Mahinmi for Bogans (who would immediately be cut), the Pacers have wiggled their way into just enough cap space to re-sign Lance to the contract he deserves.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Rondo trade including only two teams that both could accept; there just isn't a team in the league at this moment with the right combination of needs and assets. This 4 team trade however is beneficial to all, be it because of the retention of a star player, the rebuilding of a franchise, the saving of precious cap-space or the satisfaction of bench needs.