Rajon Rondo has worn out his welcome with the Boston Celtics. That's the word from ESPN's basketball insider Chris Broussard, who reports that the Celtics are "aggressively shopping" their young star point guard.
Why? Rondo's personality and clashes with head coach Doc Rivers have just become too much for the team to handle. Despite these reported clashes, Rondo is still averaging a career-high 14.2 points, an admirable 9.6 assists this year and has recorded three triple-doubles this year. Not so bad for such a major burden, huh?
Anyone surprised that Rondo's attitude has become a problem? You shouldn't be. Along with his inability to consistently shoot a jumper, this has been a constant knock against Rondo. The attitude is too much of a burden, and once again, we have a new round of Rondo trade rumors.
The story on trading Rondo hasn't changed, though. Should the Celtics make the decision to cut ties with him, they absolutely have to bring back a player of equal or greater value. Rondo is one of the most capable point guards in the sport, and you simply cannot give him away for nothing.
Of course, there are some options out there. Just not many of them. Some of the rumored names tied to Rondo trade talks have been Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets are interesting options, too, albeit unlikelier ones.
Curry's name was mentioned in Brossard's report, with the Celtics and Warriors reportedly in discussions. However, the Warriors decided to pull the trigger on that swap, and Boston has also had second thoughts on Curry's persistant ankle injury. When healthy, Curry can be dangerous, averaging 17.7 points and just under six assists in his career.
Since the season started and the Chris Paul rumors died down (because, you know, he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers), Gasol's name has been the one most often mentioned for Rondo. And to me, it doesn't make much sense. Gasol may still be talented and is only in his early 30s, but he is on the decline while Rondo is perhaps entering his prime. The presence of Gasol inside would be a major help for the Celts, but it doesn't help the rebuilding process. Plus, if Danny Ainge made a Rondo-for-Gasol swap, he wouldn't have anyone to run the offense. Avery Bradley is a good defender, but he isn't ready to lead an NBA team full time. Neither is E'Twaun Moore.
Now, we get into the fun rumors. Williams and Howard are viewed as a package deal by some, with Dwight a known Deron lover who wants to join forces. It's a lot more likely for the Celtics to land Williams than it is Howard, though, but it won't be that easy. New Jersey wouldn't necessarily do a straight up swap, and the Celtics don't have additional trade chips to sweeten the pot. Should the C's trade for Williams, it could go a long way towards signing Howard in the offseason. Both of these scenarios are stretches, but they are certainly fun to think about.
But this is where we are at. Rondo, a key part of the Celtics' championship run in 2008, seems to be on his way out the door. It will be sad to see him go if the rumors are true, but it is understandable. Let's just hope Ainge can pull a rabbit out of a hat again and swing a big deal.