Michael Perez/Associated Press
This is going to be a split issue, pretty much down the middle with Boston Celtics fans.
On one hand, many will believe that the fastest way to rebuild is to deal Rajon Rondo, Boston's best trade asset, to maximize his return. Boston can't trade anybody else and get the kind of package back that Rondo commands. More spread-out talent and draft picks is a definite rebuilding path.
On the other hand, others would prefer Rondo stay a Celtic and that the team rebuilds around him. There are obvious inherent flaws with that logic, since Rondo is an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, to build a competitive team in the NBA, you need two or three All-Stars. If you have one, and he isn't throwing a fit about playing there, like Kevin Love or Dwight Howard, you don't deal him away and hope the return pays off.
Last week, after a report surfaced that Rondo was asking out of Boston, his camp quickly denied the claim, according Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The original claim was made by Jackie MacMullan, while she thought she was off-air during the filming of an episode of ESPN's Around the Horn. The video, which has since been deleted, was found by MassLive.com's Jay King.
The best-case scenario for trading a star player in recent years has been the Orlando Magic and Howard. Not that Rondo is by any means as valuable as Howard, but the Magic maximized their return on a star player, getting back a bunch of picks and promising young players. That has gotten them to 23-59 two years later, and they are staring at likely another down year. Orlando just missed out on the Big Three draft picks this summer, landing Aaron Gordon at No. 4 instead of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.
Boston already had one down year, earning a top-six pick, with Rondo missing more than half of it due to injury. They were unable to surround him with another star this summer but definitely made an effort. They have a chance to do it again next summer or through a midseason trade, as well.
If they can retain a star whose best talent is making other players on the floor better, that could be the most important part of their rebuild.