Rajon Rondo needs to go to work for Kevin McHale.
If the Boston Celtics point guard is not destined to retire as the second-greatest athlete—Hondo is still El Hombre—ever to play for the franchise, how can the team maximize his apparently inevitable departure?
That’s a crucial “if”…especially since there’s still no logical answer to the question “Why would you not hold onto, in a veritable Bruno Sammartino bear hug, so unique a set of talents as this young man possesses?”
But if indeed the post-Big Three Green Machine is to be motored by the nicely developing Avery Bradley or someone else not named Rajon, then whereto Rondo? And when?
The expiring contract of a coveted young star far too often produces potholes in the path of an NBA season, so simply standing pat is not advisable.
This season’s Farewell Tour for the Big Three was launched on the twin tenets of getting healthy and catching lightning in a bottle, a strategy that would surely include a two-armed Rajon Rondo.
But notwithstanding some streaky success and a generally favorable schedule, Doc Rivers and his boys continue to look up at six teams in the hardly daunting Eastern Conference.
Will “healthy bottled lightning” be enough for these increasingly lovable (Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus) Celtics to defeat both the Bulls and Heat, on the heels of an April that includes a brutal stretch of 11 games (seven on the road) in 15 days?
Even a best-case scenario of surpassing the 76ers for the division crown (thus ensuring a top-four seed) might simply be postponing the inevitable.
And we’re only talking about getting through the East.
At what point does realistic optimism become pipe dream?
So if the Rondo ties are to be severed—for reasons other than talent—should not this dissociation happen sooner rather than later? Methinks that’s how Mr. Auerbach might assess the situation.
Rajon’s recent play, over and above lending some perspective to Linsanity (Abacus’ll take the Cole Train, thanks!), may be making his game as “attractive” as it’s ever going to be.
Now, what should Rivers and Danny Ainge be looking to get in return for their All-Star?
How does an emerging All-Star point guard, a versatile and athletic frontcourt player with three-point range and maybe six more post fouls sound to you?
Danny’s old friend and teammate McHale brought his Houston Rockets to the Garden for a look-see earlier this week.
Coach Kevin has emphasized the defensive end of the floor as his inconsistent squad fights for a playoff berth.
Rondo brings to the table the kind of grit that McHale is trying to instill in a young unit.
In return, Rondo’s rotation slot can be assumed by Kyle Lowry, who’ll provide similar in-your-face attitude and a better shooting touch.
The court sense and shooting range of 6’9” rookie Chandler Parsons would be a nice piece to add, and serve as insurance in the event that Jeff Green not be able to resume his career.
Toss in a developing big man like improving Jordan Hill or D-league grad Greg Smith, and you’re looking at a not unattractive package for a guy you’ve decided not to keep.
Trying to work an even-up deal for a premier point guard (Deron Williams) or other super stud (Josh Smith, a Gasol) addresses only one need.
This Rocket deal moves your man at maximum value and to the Western Conference, replacing him with a player in Lowry whose game still seems to be growing. And maybe Parsons can deliver a case of White Lightnin’ from his Dixie roots.
Would McHale, and more importantly Rockets GM Daryl Morey, place so much value on Rajon Rondo?
Would Rondo want to play for another team trying to claw its way into playoff position?
Interesting, whether it happens now or this summer.