Trade Speculation: Possible Landing Spots for Rajon Rondo
"Beware the ides of March." A famous Shakespeare line, but in relation to this crazy condensed NBA season, the line takes on an entirely different meaning.
This season the Ides, or 15th of March for all those who did not purchase the Julius Caesar cliff notes, represents the 2012 NBA trade deadline. And with it comes the most chaotic—and possibly the most exciting—stanza of the season.
This time of year bring rumors of sweeping changes throughout the league. This year is no different. With Dwight Howard, Monta Ellis and Pau Gasol leading the pack of stars who are on "the block," people are lining up ways they can sell off their expendables for a star.
One of the more interesting players making this year's list is Boston All-Star guard Rajon Rondo. With the Celtics' "Big Three" looking as if their title window has closed, Rondo's name has come up as a player who could find himself sporting a new jersey this month.
While Celtic general manager Danny Ainge has tried to quell the chatter surrounding a possible Rondo swap, there seems to be a real chance the Celtics' most valuable trade chip could be moved.
While the odds are definitely against a move, it is interesting what the Celtics could get in return for a 26-year-old NBA champion point guard.
Let's play soothsayer and explore some possible landing spots...
The Portland Trailblazers
The Deal: Portland gets Rajon Rondo; Boston gets Nicolas Batum and Raymond Felton
Decimated over the last few years by devastating injuries, the Portland Trailblazers have been one of the NBA's most resilient franchises.
Throughout the chaos, the Blazers can boast one of the league's brightest young stars in All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. They also have a burgeoning star in Frenchman Nicolas Batum, who has been looking for a contract extension from the Blazers.
Batum is having his best NBA season in 2012, netting 13.7 points while shooting an impressive 41 percent from three-point land.
Point guard Raymond Felton has had a disappointing campaign after a breakout half to the season with the New York Knicks and was a major contributor for the Denver Nuggets after a mid-season trade. While struggling most of the season with his fitness and recently being bench in favor of combo guard Jamal Crawford, Felton has proven over the years that he can be a productive NBA point guard.
Batum has big time potential and Felton finally looks like he is rounding into playing shape after his benching. Felton also carries a contract that expires this summer, which is enticing to a rebuilding franchise.
Pairing Rondo and Aldridge for at least the next three seasons would be appealing to Portland. The Blazers also have Gerald Wallace, who can opt out of his deal next season, and Marcus Camby whose $9 million deal expires at seasons end, to work with.
Felton and Batum, however, might be enough to deliver Rondo to Rip City.
The Deal: Sacramento gets Rajon Rondo; Boston gets Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson
After a historic rookie season, Tyreke Evans has had difficulty ascending to the next level.
While 17 points, five assists and five rebounds a game is nothing to sneeze at, the 6'6" combo guard still struggles with his shot, and he has issues with focus and intensity at times as well. The former Rookie of the Year has yet to build on his early success and looks lost California's capital city.
Evans' struggles mirror the issues Thompson has had during his brief career. He had a promising beginning to his NBA career, too, averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in only his second season as a pro. Since 2010, however, Thompson has found himself shuffled in and out of the rotation and has not been able to find consistency over the past two seasons.
There is danger bringing Rondo in a volatile situation like Sacramento. It has been Rondo's immaturity that has contributed to him even being available, and him going to a team like the Kings with little veteran leadership could be a disaster.
It also could be a turning point in the young All-Star's career as well. He brings a level of toughness and championship experience to a team with none of the above. It is a major risk, but it could put the Kings on a road to winning.
The Deal: Atlanta gets Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass; Boston gets Josh Smith and Jeff Teague
The Atlanta Hawks passed on Rondo in the 2006 draft in favor of Duke big man Sheldon Williams. Perhaps they can make up for that decision by acquiring the young guard six seasons later.
Josh Smith may hold claim to the mantle of "Best Active Player to Never Make an All-Star Team." A versatile big man, Smith is putting up stellar numbers across the board, netting 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and over two blocks per contest.
Smith's name has come up in rumors in the past, but the whispers seemed to subside after All-Star center Al Horford went down with a pectoral tear.
Third year point man Jeff Teague seems to have finally earned a starting gig in Atlanta. After languishing on the bench, Teague broke out against the Chicago Bulls during last season's playoffs. Armed with one of the NBA's quickest first steps, Teague is having a career year, averaging 12.3 points and just over four assists.
Rondo could slide right into the void left by Teague and Bass, who is having his best season as a pro, averaging 11.8 points and 6.2 rebounds, could hold down the fort until Horford returns.
Depending on the mindset of both teams, it is feasible that a deal between the two might include additional players, namely Jermaine O'Neal on the Boston side and Marvin Williams for Atlanta.