Rajon Rondo may be sidelined for the season with a torn ACL, but there’s a chance he can still help the Boston Celtics make a title push in 2013.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, general managers across the NBA "insist" that the star point guard is available. He then proposes that Rondo could possibly be the key piece in a package for Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks.
Chris Broussard @Chris_Broussard
Rival GMs insist Rondo's available. Could they pry Josh away from ATL w/out giving up Pierce or KG? Jeff Green would be good fit in ATL2013-2-20 15:05:24
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 12:12 p.m. ET by Alex Kay
Rajon Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, has apparently received assurance from Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge that his client will not be traded at the upcoming deadline, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
Sam Amick @sam_amick
Agent for Rajon Rondo, Bill Duffy, tells USAT that Boston GM Danny Ainge assured him today the Celtics PG won't be traded. Story to come.2013-2-20 17:05:42
---End of update---
It seems preposterous that Celtics GM Danny Ainge would give up on Rondo due to his injury, but the mercurial star has been in numerous trade rumors in recent years.
Before going down in late January, the 26-year-old out of Kentucky had appeared in 38 games and was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds in 37.4 minutes per game.
Rondo is a one-of-a-kind talent who can post a triple-double on any given night, and he will still have two affordable years on his contract after this season ($12 million in 2013-14, $13 million in 2014-15.)
He’s even better in the playoffs, helping to lead the C’s to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring by averaging 17.3 points, 11.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds in 42.6 minutes over 19 grueling games.
While Broussard’s idea of Rondo and Jeff Green for Smith would work with another player involved (check this scenario with Jeff Teague), it just seems shortsighted of the Celtics brass to deal the team's best player when the championship window already looks to be closed.
After Ray Allen defected to the Miami Heat over the summer, there was a sliver of hope that Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and a ragtag group of veteran castoffs could make one last postseason push.
Now that the catalyst to last year’s deep run is watching from the bench, there’s no reason to blow things up and hope that Smith—a player who has never advanced past the conference semifinals—will team with Pierce and Garnett to beat the Heat and claim the East.
With the deadline fast approaching, it will be interesting to see what happens with Rondo and the Celtics, but it doesn’t seem likely that the Boston star is going anywhere.