With less than 12 hours remaining before the 2014 NBA trade deadline, we are starting to hear more rumors revolving around Captain Rajon Rondo. ESPN.com has reported that the Houston Rockets want to make a move with the Celtics for Rondo. According to the report, talks are not even close and that the Celtics want the Rockets to include Chandler Parsons in any deal for number nine.
The Rockets have a lot of valuable pieces to move for Rondo. It will be interesting to see what it takes to convince Danny Ainge to move his star point guard. Ainge is familiar with this process. This is similar to what he dealt with concerning former face of the franchise Paul Pierce when Ainge denied rumors that Pierce was being shopped heavily. It appears Rondo is being inquired about and not shopped around, meaning Ainge will have to be blown away by an offer.
Perhaps Ainge will help out former colleague Kevin McHale by accepting a lesser deal for Rondo as payback for the Kevin Garnett trade from a few years ago. It seems as of now that Rondo should be a Celtic by the time the deadline passes and I hope it stays that way.
After one more year near the bottom of the standings, the Celtics should have an impressive core and a lot of cap room to help build a team around Rondo and others. Even giving him a max contract then doesn’t hurt the financial flexibility of the team with so many mid-level contracts off the books by that point.
With all of that being said, the Rockets can offer a very enticing package for the rebuilding Celts. Terrance Jones and Chandler Parsons in a deal for Rondo would be a must. Those two players, along with a first-round draft pick and some help with either Gerald Wallace or Brandon Bass’s contracts would be the optimal deal for the C’s.
But replacing Rondo in the next few years may be impossible. It isn’t just what he accomplishes on the court, but rather his swagger and attitude that he carries onto the court and in the locker room has become a strength of his in his older age. This was the same characteristic that he was judged harshly for in his first few years, but now he has seemed to find a balance between arrogance and confidence. His relationship with Brad Stevens has had a positive effect on him and has made him a better leader. I don’t think a few young players and a draft pick can ever replace what Rondo can bring to this team in the coming years. As of today, he is still their captain and leader, something we can hopefully continue to say closer to 2020.