The 2013 period of free agency has provided no shortage of thrills, as the structure of the NBA has been altered in a drastic manner. While the signings may be the focal point of the summer, certain teams have gone against the grain and utilized trades to improve their respective franchises.
The question is, which players could be on the move by summer's end?
Spoiler Alert: there's a large presence of Boston Celtics players in this article. This should come as no surprise, as the Celtics are in a state in which few words can describe, as they're good enough to make the playoffs but young enough and making the type of moves that suggest a rebuilding process.
Regardless of what they choose to do, it's clear that Boston isn't done making moves.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 7 Seasons
2012-13 Season Averages
18.12 PER, 13.7 PPG, 11.1 APG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 SPG
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the Detroit Pistons are interested in acquiring All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. This follows up a summer full of reports that Detroit, one of the most active teams of the summer, could pursue the league's assist leader.
Unfortunately for the Pistons, writes Washburn, they're unwilling to part with the one player who could make the deal feasible—second-year center Andre Drummond:
The Pistons are quite interested in Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, but they don’t have a package to offer that would attract president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to making a deal. The Celtics would presumably ask for emerging center Andre Drummond, who is as close to untouchable as a younger player can get. Detroit would like to send the Celtics Brandon Knight and an expiring contract, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough. Detroit doesn’t have a first-round pick to offer because of the Ben Gordon deal that gave the Bobcats the choice of a Pistons draft pick over the next four seasons.
Unless Drummond is included, we can write this off as yet another team that we're not surprised to hear is interested in one of the game's elite performers—because, you know, who isn't?
In the end, the Celtics' decision to trade Rondo will come down to whether or not they want to truly rebuild. Some would say they've already gutted their roster, but all they've gotten rid of are two players above the age of 35.
At some point the Celtics had to move on from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Hall of Famers or not.
If the Celtics are to sign off on this deal and truly commit to the future, it's hard to imagine they'd do so without acquiring Drummond. They already have a promising interior with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, but Boston knows the value of a dominant defensive big man.
For that reason, we're inclined to believe that a Rondo-for-Drummond deal remains a possibility.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Experience: 1 Season
2012-13 Season Averages
21.69 PER, 20.7 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 60.8% FG
As previously alluded to, the Pistons are interested in acquiring Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. In order to do so, Detroit would almost certainly have to part ways with 21-year-old guard Brandon Knight and 19-year-old center Andre Drummond.
Don't hold your breath, Drummond fans—the Pistons will give in at some point.
Whether or not the deal is executed, the Pistons are building to win right now. They've made a splash in free agency, have a rising star in the frontcourt and Rondo is one of the best players in the NBA.
Giving up your future for a legitimate chance at the title may actually be worth it.
A core of Rondo, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe would make Detroit be a contender in the Eastern Conference. The key here is that Rondo and Smith are both entering their prime, while Monroe is already a supreme offensive player at 23.
Losing Drummond would hurt, but with Smith having experience at power forward and Monroe capable of playing center, dealing him for Rondo would be a brilliant move for Detroit and Boston.
Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace, Boston Celtics
We're not done, Celtics fans.
According to Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England, the Celtics are looking to trade Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. This comes mere weeks after they acquired the highly paid forwards in the infamous trade that sent Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets.
If any of the aforementioned trades involving Rondo are to be executed, you can expect Humphries or Wallace—perhaps both—to be included in the deal.
Humphries is the most attractive trade piece, as the 28-year-old is a powerful interior player that rebounds as well as anyone in the NBA. More importantly, his hefty $12.0 million contract is an expiring deal.
For a contender needing to bolster their interior, Humphries could be an attractive option.
Wallace may be a more difficult sell, as he's set to make more than $10.1 in each of the next three seasons. He may still be a versatile defender and top-tier athlete, but Wallace is also 30 years old and thus in the final years of his prime.
With that being said, Ainge has executed surprising trades in the past.
Humphries is all but certain to be traded, whether it be this summer or at the 2013 NBA trade deadline. Wallace could also be a contender to be dealt, but the most likely situation would be for Boston to work him into the previously alluded to Pistons deal.
Plain and simple, the Celtics are far from done with their active summer.