Salary Info: 2 years, $24.8 million remaining from five-year extension
Why the Celtics Would Trade: Most likely, Rondo will only go if he demonstrates an incessant and unmistakable desire to leave Boston. He is the only surefire foundational player currently on the roster, and the whole point of rebuilding is to acquire those kinds of assets, not send them away.
Despite playing in just 38 games last season, Rondo still finished 18th in PER for the entire season. For reference, the next most efficient player currently on the Celtics' roster was Jeff Green at 125th.
Of course, that may serve as the very reason for Ainge to trade Rondo. If the Celtics want to sink to Bobcat-esque levels to ensure themselves a franchise-changer like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Julius Randle, the team could just stockpile expiring contracts.
Consider the recent Rondo-to-Dallas buzz circulating through cyberspace. If the Mavericks were willing to eat some of Boston's long-term deals (more on those later), the Celtics could take back first-rounder Shane Larkin and the expiring contracts of Vince Carter and/or Shawn Marion.
The team would be excruciating to watch, but they would have a young point guard as a potential Rondo replacement, a terrible team likely to earn lots of lottery balls and most importantly, financial flexibility.
Likelihood of a Trade: 25%. Ultimately, it might be too much for Ainge to stomach the possibility of deconstructing the Celtics to a 15-win team. If Rondo is willing to stay, a more practical method might be slowing down the point guard's ACL rehab so that he does not come back until after the All-Star Break. That timeline would ensure a complete return to health, as well as a Wiggins-worthy record.