Now that the NBA season is just around the corner, and most teams have finished making overt moves until training camp, it's possible that there isn't much to wait for. The FIBA World Cup 2014 is happening, but it's still the group stage right now and the games are, really, starting at 4:30 am MT most days. That's just too darn early for most folk from the Beehive state.
So what else is there to worry about?
The Boston Celtics have a young team that tied with the Utah Jazz last season, we were only worse than them because of the coin flip. They are young, and far from the playoffs. (Though in the Eastern Conference you never know) They have a guy in his prime right now in Rajon Rondo. And he came into the league being on a contender and getting to the NBA Finals, collecting another ring for the Celtics along the way. He's not looking forwards to a "we don't skip steps" rebuild. So it only makes sense that he is rumored to want a trade. (Seems a bit premature as he is going to be getting $12.9 million this year, and then be an unrestricted free agent the next.)
Kevin O'Connor (SB Nation / Celtics Blog; not the LHM Group of Companies) had this to say:
Jackie MacMullan said in a video posted Wednesday by ESPN's Around the Horn that Boston Celtics captain Rajon Rondo "wants out" and that a trade "will happen." (Update: The video was removed from YouTube on Sunday evening.)
But whether or not Jackie's words are true doesn't matter here. The fact is there just aren't many teams that would be interested in Rondo right now, and of those teams, very few have what it takes to get a deal done.
Even she says, "I don't see how you get 80 cents on the dollar for him. Tell me where."
And I can't tell you where.
As outlined in my "9 for 9" article posted in July, it's very difficult to find potential destinations for Rondo. Places like Milwaukee, Sacramento, and New York may have interest, but do they really have what it takes to complete a deal? Probably not.
Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and Indiana could have enough for a fair deal, but is it enough to really make Danny Ainge pull the trigger? Doubt it.
Houston is the only team that has enough to offer Boston right now. A package that includes Clint Capela, Alessandro Gentile, two first round picks, and a handful of non-guaranteed contracts (the Rockets have five of them) would probably be enough to start some realistic conversations, but even then, why pull the trigger this summer?
Some other team could get desperate, but that probably wouldn't happen until next year once with the trade deadline approaching. As Gary Washburn wrote last week, "moving Rondo is not a high priority," and nor should it be at this point in time. If Houston or another team can blow Boston away, then maybe you pull the trigger before the season, but that is highly unlikely.
It would appear that while a trade may be something he wants, it's just not going to happen. The organization will not get fair value in a trade, and are not motivated to make one right now either. But what about Rondo?
According to Mark Murphy, of the Boston Herald . . .
Spokeswoman for Rajon Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, said both men deny that Celtics guard has demanded a trade.— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) September 1, 2014
(via Celtics Blog)
. . . and we all knew that was coming. It's just the media game to want something, deny it, and then eventually get what you want. Just ask Kevin Love who wanted out of Minny, but didn't ask for a trade, and then lo and behold, he's now going to be playing for another team this upcoming season.
Of course, the Celtics fans have a different opinion:
This, like Jackie MacMullan's report that Rondo "wants out," is a non-story as far as I'm concerned. I don't think Rondo would demand a trade, so Murphy's report is likely accurate, but I do think there is probably an understanding between the front office and him that if things don't turn around this season, then there is a greater chance he bolts next summer.
And it doesn't take media reports to deny or confirm any of that. It's obvious that Rondo has a deep desire to win that can only be matched by players like Kobe Bryant. But it's also clear that Rondo is invested into the Celtics tradition, and would love to see "9" hanging in the rafters someday. Players are immortal if they succeed in Boston and you don't get that many other places.
Why is this non-story being talked about here at SLC Dunk? Aren't we a Utah Jazz website? Well yeah, we don't write about movies and TV over here, so I guess it should be. The issue here is that, a) Utah loves pass first point guards, and b) many of us wanted Rondo for a few years. No team is talking about Rondo to Utah right now. And I get that.
And personally, I'd rather roll the dice with Trey Burke (2013 Lotto pick), Raul Neto (2013 draft pick), and Dante Exum (2014 Lotto pick) myself. Rondo, a championship point guard, has been an All-Star four times in the last five seasons. He has made the All-Defensive team four times as well (either as a 1st or 2nd team member). Historically he is a high assists and steals guy. We John Stockton fans we see and respect that. He can guard multiple positions and knows how to set his teammates up for success.
But he really hasn't improved his shooting one lick.
Trading for a 24 or 25 year old Rondo is one thing. Trading for a 28 year old Rondo is another -- especially one who has gone 21.3%, 23.3%, 23.8%, 24.0%, and 28.9% from deep over his last five seasons. The other problem is that his health is a serious question mark. I know, these are mostly acute injuries, but he has gone down every year in games played in the regular season: 81, 68, 53, 38, and 30 last year. Yes, the 53 games played was a lockout shortened 66 game season. But he's someone who is playing less and less, and not getting really better from deep. (Of course, if he plays 80 games next year, and shoots 34% from outside then this bucks the trend) But the current trend is not a good one.
More than ever you need a point guard who can space the floor. And in Quin Snyder's new offensive system passing plays will come from all around the horn, not just one guy dominating the ball. Yes, we don't know if Trey Burke can be a four time All-Star, or if Dante Exum can make an All-Defensive team, or if Raul Neto can lead a team to a championship. Rondo's resume is nearly flawless.
His game, though, is with serious flaws during his prime.
He may want out of Boston, but right now, more than ever, I don't think many Utah Jazz fans would want him going forward. After all, we also won 25 games last season and don't need to skip steps. Don't get me wrong. I really do like Rondo and consider myself as a Rondo fan. And yes, the Jazz may have the parts to make a trade possible. But Boston doesn't want to rush anything, and while the Jazz have potential at the point guard spot, I don't see them moving potential for production at this stage either. Rondo is good. Personally I would see what we have with the youth first before trying to move them.