Celtics Trade Rumors: Dealing Rajon Rondo Would Ruin C's Future

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2012

This is not the first time the concept of trading Rajon Rondo has seemed like an odd one.

His name continues to surface in trade rumors despite the front office continuing to deny that he's available, but the general consensus is that Rondo could absolutely be had.

General manager Danny Ainge shot down trade rumors vehemently for the second time this season.

"These rumors have never stopped, but I haven't made a call mentioning Rondo's name since last summer," Ainge said. "That was during all of the Chris Paul stuff."

Now that's an interesting quote from Ainge. It wasn't that long ago that Rondo being traded for CP3 was a hot topic of discussion. But at the time it was going on, Ainge also denied that he was shopping his starting point guard.

Entering December and weeks before the regular season ever started, Ainge professed his love for Rondo and stated that he was not looking to trade him.

"I'll talk to Rondo," he added. "But I won't tell you what I'll say to him. Rondo will be fine, Rondo knows that we love him. He knows that we like him. He's excited to come back and play basketball, in my opinion. He gets a lot of attention. He's a great player. There's a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. So, how these rumors get out, it's unfortunate, but we didn't leak those rumors out."

Clearly, there is some inconsistency between his quotes and Ainge's ability to contradict himself in the media should not be overlooked.

He might be saying how much he loves Rondo and has no inclination to move him, but he's just playing the game.

Ainge understands he has a valuable trade chip on the table, and he's not going to do anything to lessen the leverage he has when speaking with other teams.

Ainge's quotes are filled with inconsistency.
Ainge's quotes are filled with inconsistency.

ESPN's Chad Ford lays out the Rondo situation beautifully.

I know the Celtics are saying Rondo isn't going anywhere. But there are two problems with that. (1) It doesn't jibe with what a number of NBA GMs are saying based on conversations they've had with Celtics president Danny Ainge. (2) Ainge isn't stupid. He doesn't want to trade Rondo, but Rondo is the best chip he has to play right now.

There is a decision to be made about Rondo and whether or not the Celtics can build around him going forward.

It should be an easy one to make—do not trade Rondo.

At 26 years old, Rondo has career averages of 10.9 points, 7.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game on 48.4 percent shooting.

Those numbers don't do him justice, as Rondo has been much more impressive since the 2009-10 season than he had been his first three years in the league.

Furthermore, the Celtics have an incredible cost-controlled asset.

Rondo makes just $36 million over the next three seasons (signed through 2014-15), and that bargain contract can't be overstated when discussing his value.

If Rondo was a free agent looking to sign his next deal, there is no doubt that the crafty point guard would demand a higher yearly salary on the open market.

The Celtics need to get younger and more athletic. Boston needs to put the pieces around Rondo that will allow him to thrive in his game.

Dealing Rondo to patch a couple of holes isn't going to achieve anything for the long haul.

Replacing Rondo is not going to be an easy task, and it's one the Celtics shouldn't be forced to undertake if the proper moves are made.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports passes along the following.

Rival executives believe Celtics president Danny Ainge would have to be blown away by an offer to move point guard Rajon Rondo.

Celtics fans better hope that's the case, because anything less than a blockbuster which clearly favors Boston isn't going to be enough.

Remember life before the "big three?"

Nobody wants to go back there.