While there are numerous hurdles to overcome to get this deal done, a potential Rondo-to-Dallas deal would help both sides.
There have been talks between the two sides, although they are at their most fundamental stages. Wojnarowski reports that the Celtics would need to take on a significant amount of contracts while Stein notes that Dallas would likely need to bring in another team to get the job done.
If there's one glimmer of hope, however, it's that Boston has expressed an interest in Shane Larkin, who was taken by the Mavericks with their top pick in the draft in a deal they made with the Atlanta Hawks.
Dallas and Boston discussed a Rajon Rondo trade, league source confirms. As I said earlier, the Celtics like Shane Larkin quite a bit.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2013
This trade is on weak legs, but nothing is impossible—especially not when a deal makes this much sense.
Direction in Dallas
The Dallas Mavericks boast one of the game's greatest players of all-time in power forward Dirk Nowitzki. They also have one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA in Shawn Marion, who can take on players at every perimeter position and the 4.
Unfortunately, the Mavericks lack a point guard to bring the team direction. That's a major reason they've gone from title winners to a lottery team in the span of two seasons.
If the Mavericks were to add Rondo to the mix, however, they'd bring in the NBA's leading assist man for the past two seasons. Not only can Rondo push the pace in transition, but he also has mountains of experience running the show in the half-court with an aging Celtics squad.
Keep in mind, Rondo mastered the pick-and-pop with Kevin Garnett—imagine the proficiency he'd develop with Nowitzki.
Rondo wouldn't push the Mavericks to title contention on his own, but with his history of postseason brilliance and Nowitzki's Finals MVP, it's hard to imagine they'd be an easy out with just those two.
Rondo equals Playoffs
The Boston Celtics have made multiple deals that suggest they're entering a rebuilding phase. Most recently, they've traded Garnett and Paul Pierce to their division rival Brooklyn Nets and allowed head coach Doc Rivers to join the Los Angeles Clippers.
If that's not enough, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge recently told Jay King of MassLive.com that he's "gearing up for a rebuilding process."
Unfortunately for Boston, as long as Rondo is on their roster, they simply will not be a lottery team. In fact, Rondo's presence alone guarantees that the Celtics will win at least 30 games in a weak Eastern Conference.
Throw in the presence of Jeff Green, who has 17.3 points and 5.0 rebounds with a slash line of .493/.439/.798 after the All-Star break, along with such experienced postseason performers as Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee playing alongside defensive specialist Avery Bradley, and you have a contender.
For those who believe that isn't a strong enough cast to contend for a title, you're spot on. With that being said, the Eastern Conference sent a 38-44 Milwaukee Bucks team and 41-40 Celtics squad to the playoffs in 2012-13.
If they really want to rebuild and be in line to land one of the top-tier draft prospects in 2014, keeping Rondo simply isn't the way to do it.
A Guaranteed Superstar
Plain and simple, if the Dallas Mavericks are to swing a trade for Rondo, they'll be out of the running for Dwight Howard. While that may be an extreme turnoff, there's one thing that the Mavericks must ignore.
If acquiring less-favorable contracts means acquiring one of the top-15 players in the NBA, that's far more favorable than swinging and missing on stars for the second consecutive offseason.
We've heard this story before with the Mavericks, as they entered the 2012 period of free agency with high hopes. As the chips started falling, however, and Deron Williams re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas was left empty-handed.
If they put all their chips in one basket with Howard, the same thing will happen again.
When the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011, they had one superstar, a cast of three-point marksmen, a point guard to run the show and a rim protector. Should they trade for Rondo, they'd likely take on contracts such as Lee's $15.0 million over the next three years.
With that being said, they'd also acquire Rondo right before Nowitzki restructures his contract.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports that Nowitzki will take a "significant pay cut" to open up cap space for the Mavericks to pursue free agents in 2014.
While that may be an attractive offer, there's one thing we cannot deny: Free agents would be significantly more likely to join the Mavericks with Rondo and Nowitzki than come to Dallas with only Nowitzki leading the way.