NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons the Celtics and Lakers Should Swap Rondo and Gasol
So it makes sense that bloggers around the internet are wondering if the Gasol for Rajon Rondo rumors will be resurrected. Back in February, 2012, around the trade deadline, HoopsWorld's Eric Pincus was one of several reporting on the potential swap.
Obviously, a deal didn't go down then, but it makes a lot more sense now.
Because Gasol's salary this season is about $8 million more than Rondo's, the Celtics would have to include at least one other player to make the deal work.
The two most conceivable options are Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass. And since the Lakers already have Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Xavier Henry and Jodie Meeks, Lee doesn't make much sense.
A trade of Gasol for Rondo and Bass works in ESPN's NBA Trade Machine. More importantly, it would work for both organizations in the real world.
I can think of at least five reasons why.
Gasol's Expiring Contract Helps Boston with its Rebuilding
Each member of the original "Big Three" that came together in 2007 is now gone (Ray Allen went to the Heat last offseason) and now Rondo is the only remaining member of the 2008 championship team.
He and Bass each have two years left on their current contracts, restricting Boston's financial flexibility until the summer of 2015. Trading them for Gasol and then letting the big man go this coming April gives Boston $19.8 million more in cap space—and opens up the books a full year earlier.
Boston Retaining Rondo Makes Little Sense
Rondo's known as a player with an attitude that's difficult to manage—evidenced by the fair share of spats he's had with teammates and coaches during his career as a Celtic.
Is that really the kind of headache general manager Danny Ainge wants his new, 37-year-old coach Brad Stevens to deal with? Is Rondo the kind of leader a rebuilding team wants around its young players?
And if Boston does keep its title-winning point guard, what are the chances he re-signs in 2015 after suffering through the two losing seasons the Celtics are almost certain to have?
The answers to all those questions should make Celtics fans and management wary of hanging on to Rondo, in spite of his great skill as a distributor.
Rondo Makes More Sense for the Lakers
Boston hasn't been a hot spot for free agents, well, ever. Los Angeles on the other hand, is.
Next summer, the Lakers will have plenty of cap space to go after a big name or two, even with Rondo's contract on the books.
Imagine if they added someone like, oh I don't know, Carmelo Anthony! Something tells me the Lakers would be able to convince Rondo to sign a contract extension if that happened.
Imagine a trio of Rondo, Bryant and Anthony. Obviously, they'd still need a rim-protector inside. But my goodness, the intrigue.
Kobe is on His Way Out
Because he's 35 years old and coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, it's finally time for us to start thinking about the Lakers without Kobe.
Even if they re-sign him next summer to a more reasonable contract, you have to believe retirement isn't too far away.
For that reason, Los Angeles needs to start thinking about what their new era is going to look like and who's going to lead the team into it. That role was supposed to be Dwight Howard's, but we all know what happened there.
Gambling on another enigmatic star is certainly risky, but the timing is a little better now (Kobe's closer to relinquishing his throne) and Rondo has demonstrated that he can play with bigger names than his own. That' s something Howard never did prior to his one season in LA.
Neither One of These Teams Is Going Anywhere Without a Shakeup
The Lakers have 16 NBA championships—the Celtics, 17. They're without question the two most successful franchises in league history, but neither is anywhere near title contention.
Does a Gasol for Rondo trade make sense?
They'll need to make some significant changes to put themselves back in that picture. This trade would certainly be that kind of change.
Adding Gasol would accelerate Boston's already-initiated rebuilding. And Rondo would be an instant upgrade over the soon-to-be-40 Steve Nash and a piece around whom the Lakers could add scorers in free agency.
Right now, these rumors are just that—rumors. But all the ingredients for a deal are there.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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