Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rondo: Should he stay or should he go?

I thought hearing David Aldridge say that the Celtics were looking hard at Tyson Chandler would be the highlight of my pre-December 9th waiting for the NBA silly season to kick off...

Little did I know that a few hours of sleep would render that report from Aldridge meaningless in my "aspiring GM" thought process of the next 10 days. Danny Ainge had let it be known that he would be "open" to trading PG Rajon Rondo. Immediately, the first thought in my head was "CP3...Then Dwight...Then Banners 18, 19, 20 (before I started to sound like LeBron I stopped...3 would be plenty--to start!) raised to the rafters". Now as Jim Carrey once said, "fiction can be fun", so I wanted to take a step back and see if this all made sense before I got on NBA.com and customized my Paul #13 (DJ's #3 is retired, RIP) jersey.

First off, does trading Rondo make sense? To me, absolutely. He's got a modest contract for an All-Star PG. 4 years and $46m left. Reasonable, especially for an NBA-owned NOLA franchise that needs to save money. Second, Rondo isn't a score first PG. He's done well when thrust into that role, but its not home for him. CP3 can easily take the scoring load off the Big 3 and at times will have to as they trudge through a sloppy, condensed season.  Third, CP3 will attract free agents, namely Dwight Howard. Boston on its own isn't going to attract them, cap space or not. It allows the Celtics to sidestep the 1993 disaster that was the end of the original Big 3 when the cupboard was left bare (both tragically and by not moving anyone before it was too late) and we had to suffer through years of agony before Danny got things right in 2007.

Sure, there are reasons not to explore the deal, namely Rondo's psyche if they don't move him. Look at what happened when Perk got dealt...or when President Obama questioned his jumper. The kid is fragile and this could slow him from the start in a season when all systems have to be go from the start. There's also the fear that Paul wouldn't sign an extension with Boston (I'd have to believe a deal wouldn't be consummated without that first). Furthermore, there is no guarantee that getting Chris Paul guarantees Dwight Howard. Now you're left with Paul, 1 year of Pierce and KG and Ray either off the books or back and really, really old. Not very attractive to future free agents. Sort of like the year Orlando missed out on Duncan and everyone else.

None of these reasons are enough to sway me at this point though. If Danny can make the deal, even if it takes a 3-team swap (NOLA is rumored to be scoffing at Rondo; my guess is to drive up the price) with OKC to send Westbrook to the Hornets and Rondo to Oklahoma, it has to happen. This, in fact, might make the most sense, as Westbrook needs a change of scenery after last year's playoffs and would still provide star power to New Orleans, while Rondo would be the PERFECT point-guard for KD as he dominates the league this year (the only guy balling consistently during the lockout...just watch).

With 10 days to go before free agency and Camps open up, we're sure to hear hundreds of rumors. Some will be outlandish, some impossible and some completely plausible. I know that I won't hear a better one than this though. Now I just have to wait and see if Danny can make it a reality.

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