I'm just going to come out and say it. Does anyone wonder if all this Rajon Rondo talk is taking place so that Rondo will leave Boston by the end of the year and the Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers can grab a certain Austin "subzero" Rivers in the 2012 NBA draft?
Now with that out of the way, let's get to the major focus of this article: the impact of trying to trade Rondo from the Celtics.
There is only about a 15 percent chance the Rondo for Chris Paul trade actually takes place between the Celtics and New Orleans Hornets, but that doesn't mean the rumor hasn't had an impact on the Celtics and Rondo.
Paul is without a doubt a more elite basketball player than Rondo, but what he lacks is the intangibles that Rondo brings to the court. One aspect of those intangibles is Rondo's emotion that he plays with night in and night out. The emotion that makes Rondo such a special player will be impacted by these trade rumors, and here's why.
Rondo is the kind of player who needs to be needed. His entire life he has proved haters and doubters wrong by outplaying and outworking those around him.
It seemed that with his play in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 playoffs he clearly earned the respect of his teammates and Coach Rivers.
While I'm sure everyone involved still respects Rondo, it's evident they don't value him as much as previously thought. When a player is put on the trading block the message sent to them is this: "We are better with a different player playing your position."
That message is a big hit to anyone's ego, nevertheless the ego of an NBA All-Star.
Watching Rondo, now only 25 years old, over the past few years it looked like he was just beginning to realize his true potential and find his identity within the brotherhood of the Celtics.
Last season in only 68 games played Rondo averaged a double-double with 10.7 points per game and 11.2 assists per game.
In addition to those stellar numbers, Rondo put his heart and passion for the Celtics on display in the playoffs when he returned to play after suffering a dislocated elbow against the Miami Heat.
I understand that Chris Paul is a more elite talent than Rondo, but you just can't put a real value on what Rondo and the way he plays means to the Celtics. Paul and Rondo are two different players.
Rondo plays the game with street-ball skills that make him a spark plug for the Celtics offense. Paul, on the other hand, is a point guard that has the offensive skill set of a true shooting guard. I honestly think Rondo's style of play fits more directly with the Celtics' style of play and the talent they currently have.
The Celtics made a mistake by testing the trade waters with Rondo because it undoubtedly puts a strain on the relationship between the front office, Rivers and Rondo himself, which is never a good thing.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Celtics shipped Rondo out by the end of the season for a more complete point guard, or for a chance to grab River's son, Austin Rivers, in the draft.
No matter what the Celtics end up doing with Rondo there is no doubt, at least in my mind, that the Celtics made a mistake by trying to find out Rondo's trade value before the 2011-2012 NBA season. It's not like the Celtics are struggling with Rondo—they are a contender year in and year out, but that could change if the Celtics don't keep their current point guard happy.
Do the right thing and don't get rid of your most exciting player.
Your move, Boston; the ball is in your court.