NBA teams targeting Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo via trade moving forward may have to cut their losses, because the C’s reportedly want two first-round picks in return if he’s to be dealt prior to the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
According to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, “The asking price if you can get Rondo is said to be two unprotected first rounders.”
Grantland’s Zach Lowe echoed that report via Twitter:
By setting the asking price for Rondo at two unprotected first-round selections, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has essentially made his floor general untouchable.
It makes sense that Boston’s front office would set the price for Rondo this high, because the point guard was named the Celtics' 15th captain in franchise history earlier this season.
According to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, first-year head coach Brad Stevens explained that the decision wasn’t made lightly.
“I’ve always believed that captains name themselves with their leadership on and off the court,” he said. “This isn’t about us naming Rondo captain. This is about him earning that title through his play as a Celtic, his accountability as a leader of this team, and his commitment to the Boston community.”
That didn’t make it sound like Rondo was on the trade block, but apparently he could still be dealt to a high bidder.
Of course, perhaps the only team in the NBA that could afford the price tag of two first-rounders is the Phoenix Suns.
Depending upon where the Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves finish in the standings, Phoenix could have up to four first-round picks in the 2014 NBA draft. New general manager Ryan McDonough has ties to the Celtics organization, but the Suns already have two All-Star-caliber point guards on the roster in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. As a result, targeting Rondo doesn’t make sense for the upstart desert dwellers.
Also, since the 2014 draft has been hyped for months as being deep and loaded with talent, teams have been even more hesitant to give up their picks.
For instance, the Los Angeles Lakers have insisted that they want a young asset (player or draft pick) in any potential trade for Pau Gasol, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein. To this point, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns have refused to give up a first-round pick for the veteran Spaniard.
First-round picks don’t always have a ton of value, but this year’s draft appears to be filled with potential All-Stars and viable starters.
Ultimately, I don’t believe the Celtics will trade Rondo. That’s partly because of the lofty trade demands, but it’s also tied to the fact that the NBA is a point guard-driven league.
Without a competent point guard, teams need bona fide superstars to compensate. In the case of the New York Knicks, they’re still struggling even with Carmelo Anthony on board.
There’s no guarantee that Boston will find a new Rondo in the 2014 draft anyway, so the safest choice would be to build a supporting cast around him as the star attraction.
He’s a veteran, a leader and, most importantly, a proven champion. That’s something the Celts simply can’t overlook.