NBA Trade Rumors: Why Boston Celtics Must Keep Rajon Rondo

Ben TaylorContributor IIIMarch 5, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics heads for the net as Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends on January 16, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Boston Celtics are an Eastern Conference playoff contender. Currently in seventh place, they sit five-and-a-half games ahead of the ninth place Milwaukee Bucks.

Yet, rumors will not stop swirling about Rajon Rondo being available on the trade market.

Any deal that moves Rondo away from Boston would be a mistake.

There is no reason to prematurely begin dismantling the team, especially by dealing their 26-year-old point guard.

Since drafting Rondo in 2006, the Celtics have been to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and NBA Finals twice. Plus, in their trip to Finals in 2007-2008, they won the championship.

Much of the credit for this success has been given to the Big Three: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. While this praise is warranted, people must also remember that Rondo was the floor general during this time.

He was the man distributing and getting those three talents the basketball so that they could make plays. His ability to penetrate on defenses and then kick to Pierce or Allen on the perimeter or dish to Garnett around the paint is a main reason for Boston’s recent success.

In doing this, he has demonstrated a unique skill.

He understands how to operate with star offensive players, getting them the basketball enough so that they remain happy while still making the right play for the team. In a league built on stars, this cannot be overlooked.

Given the Celtics rich history, this is especially something that should not be taken for granted.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 04:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks tries to keep the ball from Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics on March 4, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
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Even if general manager Danny Ainge chooses to trade away one or all of Garnett, Pierce and Allen, Boston will continue to attract stars. The talent may not yet have championship experience, but they will be players capable of getting to the Finals.

With this being the case, it makes all the more sense to keep Rondo around.

In his sixth year in the league, Rondo has established himself as one of premiere pure point guards in the NBA.  Only averaging 10.9 points per game in his career, Rondo mostly makes his mark playing solid defense and by making other players better.

Since 2009-2010, Rondo has averaged 10 assists and over 4.5 rebounds per contest.

Point guards that average double-doubles do not grow on trees. Plus, there also are not many players capable of what Rondo accomplished last night: 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds.

In short, if Boston chooses to trade Rondo away it is unlikely that they will be getting equal return.

He is far more useful to them and their organization than another player would be.

If they trade him for a starting post player and/or shooting guard they will need to fill the hole he leaves at the point. Those new players will need someone to get them the ball. Then, when they do obtain someone to fill that void, he will have to be worked into the Celtics' system.

On the other hand, Boston could instead choose to hold on to Rondo and build around him. Ainge could systematically deal aging stars for younger players while also developing the team via the draft.


Including this year, Rondo has shown statistical improvement in either assists, rebounding or points in each of his six NBA seasons. Despite what some might believe, he does not need Garnett, Allen and Pierce in order to be successful.

In 2011-2012, when all three of those players have showed their age and their play has declined, Rondo has had his best year. He is on pace to average career highs in all three of the previously mentioned categories.   

By keeping him in Boston, Rondo would be a calming, consistent presence in the midst of an organizational shift.

He would help the Celtics transition from the Big Three into a new era.

He could continue to lead Doc Rivers’ system, allowing new additions to be more quickly integrated into the offense. Plus, he could help attract better talent as his ability to distribute the basketball catches the eyes of players from around the league.

This latter scenario not only appeals to fans, but also makes the most sense for the team in green.

He has the experience, talent and presence on the floor that Boston does not want, nor can it afford, to deal away.