Of all the Boston Celtics, Ray Allen may be the best trade bait the team has.
Even with his older age, Allen could be a valuable asset for a lot of teams who need one more player to push them over the hump. Think of all the current title contenders who could use Allen.
The Chicago Bulls could become the favorite in the Eastern Conference if they could replace the artist formerly known as Richard Hamilton in the starting lineup.
If the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Allen, they would instantly become a much more dangerous team.
And don't forget about the Oklahoma City Thunder. Right now, their only weakness appears to be their lack out scoring options outside of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Allen on the Thunder would be scary. In the final four minutes of a close game, how would opposing teams defend that many deadly shooters?
Rondo appears to be the easy trade option because he would bring the most talent back. But there's no way Boston is going to get a fair deal for Rondo.
If the Celtics think they are going to get an elite point guard back for Rondo then they are dreaming. What team would trade their elite point guard in return for Rondo?
The Thunder? Nope.
The Spurs? No way.
Rondo may have increased his trade value after his ridiculous game against the New York Knicks where he almost finished with "20-20-20," but the Celtics aren't going to get a player back who produces at the level of Rondo.
Allen is different.
It's no surprise that he is attracting more trade interest around the league than Rondo. Unlike Rondo, Allen would be easy to plug into a new team because he's a niche player. He has an elite skill set—shooting—that every team needs.
One reason the Bulls haven't pushed hard to acquire Dwight Howard is because they are afraid it will mess up the team's chemistry. This would be the same if a team were to acquire Rondo. Allen wouldn't have these issues because, at this point in his career, he's just a role player.
Should the Celtics trade Rondo or Allen?
Allen is also a playoff veteran, and his past playoff experiences would be an asset to a young team like the Thunder or the Clippers. He's great in the fourth quarter, routinely making teams that leave him open behind the three-point line pay.
Western Conference teams that are interested in Allen would also get a player who plays Kobe Bryant very well. Bryant and Allen have a history of not liking one another since early in their careers.
If the Celtics don't trade Ray Allen by the March 15 trade deadline, then he will be free to sign wherever he pleases at the season's end. The Celtics need to decide what direction the team is going to take soon.
Their days as title contenders with the current regime seems to be over. Instead of trading their best player, Rondo, they should focus on trading a player that will likely leave at the end of the year. Why let Allen leave for free? Get something back in return. There are plenty of title contenders who are drooling over the possibility of snagging the sharpshooter.
Allen is still a good player even in his advanced age. His shooting ability alone will keep him in the league until he's 40. He's been great for the Celtics, but the team no longer needs his services because they aren't close to being a title contender anymore.
Instead of seeing him leave in free agency, the Celtics need to realize that Allen, not Rondo, is their best trade bait going forward.