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Latest Rondo Rumor: Memphis

Marc Spears reports:

While there has been talk around the NBA from several scouts that the Celtics have been shopping guard Rajon Rondo, he isn't expected to be dealt. While unlikely, one Eastern Conference executive said the latest trade rumor included Rondo and forward Brian Scalabrine going to Memphis for guard Mike Conley and swingman Rudy Gay.

I'm still not wanting to believe that Rondo is on the block, but at least I can sort-of understand this rumor. Conley isn't as good as Rondo but he has some real upside and Gay is a real talent. What bothers me is that (once again) this indicates a step back in the starting lineup. Unless Ainge has a plan to fill in the PG slot with a quality starter, it doesn't fulfill his stated goal of making the team better right now.

Yesterday Chad Ford reiterated the same rumors we've been hearing about Rondo.

The Rajon Rondo trade talk is still alive despite Danny Ainge's attempts at spin control. In speaking to the media on Tuesday, Ainge was pretty adamant that if they traded Rondo, it would be because it would make their team better and not because of any problems they have with Rondo.

I'm not sure I totally buy that. Rondo was the best player for the Celtics in the playoffs, a triple-double machine and the bridge between their present and their future. How does trading Rondo away make the Celtics better?

I'm more persuaded by what several league sources told me about Doc Rivers' relationship with Rondo. They say Rivers has told them that Rondo is "impossible to coach" and "stubborn." The worry is that if the Celtics give him a big contract extension next year, he'll be even more unmanageable in the future. So the Celtics are trying to trade him now, while his trade value is high, to avoid a very difficult decision a year from now.

In other news: Spears is also the latest to link Bryan Mullins to the C's at 58 (Chad Ford also pegs him there).

Here's a shot in the dark at who the Celtics will pick at 58th, Southern Illinois defensive-minded guard Bryan Mullins.

See an in-depth scouting report on the kid by a Saluki fan here.

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