NBA AM: Possible Rajon Rondo Trades
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Possible Deals for Rajon Rondo
The beautiful thing about the Boston Celtics heading into this upcoming season is that nobody really has any idea what to expect. Rajon Rondo will be coming back from ACL rehabilitation at some point, and both he and the team seem to think Game 1 of the 2013-14 season is a reasonable goal for that return. The real question, though, is what kind of player he’ll be, and how he’ll get along with a very young, very new head coach in Brad Stevens.
However things go early on, we should all expect trade rumors to start swirling almost immediately, especially if Stevens and a less-than-impressive Boston roster get off to a slow start. Obviously, Danny Ainge would love to rebuild this team around Rondo, but he may not be the sort of player that wants to sit around and be part of the rebuilding experience.
Getting traded may or may not improve his championship aspirations much. However, in the right situation he could be competing for another ring sooner than later, but only if his current team decides it’s time to move him.
There are plenty of reasons not to do this; Rondo and Stevens may get along better than some think, and anyway teams are going to want to see how Rondo recovers from his surgery before they offer their best assets to acquire him. Right now, Rondo’s not really for sale, and his value is at an all-time low. Despite that, there’s a real chance that could change once the season gets under way. If that happens, here are a few of the most likely (and most reasonable) offers the Celtics could get:
Dallas Mavericks trade Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Shane Larkin and Jae Crowder for Rajon Rondo and Courtney Lee. (After August 28, 2013).
Let’s go ahead and get the worst potential trade offer out of the way first. Even though Marion and Carter represent almost $12.5 million worth of expiring contracts, and Crowder and Larkin are reasonably promising youngsters, there is very little chance that Boston would be interested in this particular return for their starting point guard. Cap space is nice, but without Dallas taking Gerald Wallace’s deal, this offer just appears a little hollow. Plus, they can’t trade any first-round picks because they owe a conditional selection to Oklahoma City. Dallas is worth mentioning because the Mavericks have a ton of interest in acquiring Rondo, but they just don’t have the assets to nab him.
Charlotte Bobcats trade Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood and a future first-round pick for Rajon Rondo and Gerald Wallace. (After September 12, 2013).
This hypothetical offer is a lot like the hypothetical Dallas offer above, but significantly more interesting in a couple of ways. The first is that Gordon and Sessions are worth $18.2 million in expiring deals, which is quite a bit more than the Mavericks could offer, and they’re also able to sweeten the pot with a future first-round pick and in taking back Wallace’s three years and $30 million. The players themselves aren’t all that great in this scenario, but the cap space and draft pick are at least intriguing. They would help Boston really start fresh around their young core.
Houston Rockets trade Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons for Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee and a future first-round pick.
This is one of those deals that actually looks pretty interesting for both teams involved. Houston would obviously be giving up a lot get their paws on Rondo, but imagine a roster built around him, Dwight Howard and James Harden. Just imagine it! Whatever Houston had to give up in order to put those three together, they’d have to do, right? The first-round pick here would probably be one of the later ones Boston is owed from Brooklyn, but that helps make the medicine easier to swallow for Houston. As for Boston, this restocks the starting lineup in exchange for a player that may very well beg his way out of Beantown, anyway. Not a single one of them is on par with Rondo’s talent, but at least it’s a decent amount of value for the guy.
Detroit Pistons trade Charlie Villanueva, Rodney Stuckey and Andre Drummond for Rajon Rondo and Gerald Wallace (After September 12, 2013).
Detroit Pistons trade Brandon Jennings, Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey for Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee. (After December 15, 2013)
While it would be easy to assume that Detroit’s acquisition of Brandon Jennings precludes them from any deal in which they’d also acquire Rondo, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe insists that Detroit is still very much interested in getting their mitts on the league’s best assist man. Both of these offers include $17 million worth of expiring contracts, and both include a young star, as well. The first offer, featuring the up-and-coming Drummond, is the kind of deal Boston would likely prefer, and the Jennings offer is probably closer to what Detroit would counter with. Both deals have plenty to like for both teams, though teaming up Jennings and Rondo on the same roster would not be ideal for Detroit. They’d rather wait until mid-December to make the deal they really want, but it could take Boston at least that long to decide they want to trade Rondo.
Sacramento Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins and John Salmons for Rajon Rondo and a future first-round pick.
This is about as straight-forward a trade offer as Boston could get for their starting point guard—one strong, occasionally challenging personality for another. Boston wouldn’t be getting any sort of cap relief, which makes this particular hypothetical offer pretty different from the others, so getting one of the best young bigs in the game would really be Boston’s sole reward for Rondo, who in turn would give Sacramento a fresh start with a more experienced star. It would further muddy up their backcourt, but Rondo is definitely a cornerstone for a franchise like the Kings. If they ever decide to give up on Cousins, it would be hard to do much better in trade than Rondo.
While Rondo is in no real danger of being traded any time soon, there will almost certainly come a time this season in which the trade rumors circling around him are going to be ridiculously widespread. We may as well get a jump on some of the possibilities a little early, right?
Mark Cuban Doesn’t Regret Anything Since 2011 Championship
To say that Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks have taken their fair share of heat over the course of the last couple of NBA seasons would be a massive understatement. After winning the 2011 NBA Championship, Cuban let Tyson Chandler walk away to New York and promptly received a metric ton of flak.
The following lockout-shortened season wasn’t a good one for the Mavericks, nor was last season, in which the Mavericks missed the postseason for the first time since 2000. But with cap space and a handful of big name free agents available, there was supposed to be an opportunity to restock. That, as Cuban recently explained in a blog post, didn’t go as planned.
“We had hoped that Dwight Howard would be available (in the summer of 2012). But he wasn’t. First he opted in on his contract to the surprise of many. Then, Dwight got traded to the Lakers who put together what everyone considered to be a sure lock to do damage in the playoffs. When there was no Dwight sweepstakes, we really didn’t have any options that we felt were the right fit for us,” Cuban said. “We had multiple meetings with players. Some public. Some not. There was disagreement among our staff about which players would or would not be a fit for the Mavs. As it turned out, we didn’t make any transitional signings. We made the decision to sign one year deals, hope we can make them work and hope that we had a team that could compete for the playoffs and be better than we were before.”
That never happened, though, and the Mavericks struggled in the aftermath of not landing Howard, Deron Williams, or any of the other major free agents that have been available over the course of the last couple of years. Still, Cuban says he wouldn’t change how he’s approached structuring this team in the years since the championship.
“Would [I] do it the same way again? In a heartbeat. Why? Because in the NBA, like in the non-sports business world, you have to take chances in order to be rewarded. You have to be smart and you have to be more than a little lucky,” Cuban said.
He also thinks that the current roster is a lot better than people are giving it credit for.
“We have some players that will be far better on our team than they were on previous teams. I like our ability to work with what I call ‘fallen angels,’ Cuban said. “Players who are traded or left unsigned because everyone in the league thinks that they can only be the player they saw in another organization. We have taken players like Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Wright, Tyson Chandler and you can even say Vince Carter among others that were perceived as having this problem or that problem and had them contribute in new ways that were beyond what the ‘experts’ expected.”
This year, the experts are saying plenty of the same negative things they’ve been saying since the Chandler trade, but Cuban is insistent that this team will be competitive this season and make playoffs. He hates that people don’t see this group the way that he does, and as long as Dirk Nowitzki is still with the team and healthy, he really believes the Mavericks are a top-tier team in the Western Conference. The games will determine whether or not that’s true, but hearing Cuban’s thought process and explanation behind his approach to the team the last couple of years certainly makes the Mavs easier to root for.