For Rajon Rondo, little has changed. He and those around him have long held that his intention for the final two years of his contract with Boston is to play out the deal, first showing that he is healthy after returning from ACL surgery last year, then bouncing back into All-Star form this year as he heads into 2015 free agency. Thus, sources on both sides disputed the suggestion that emerged this weekend that Rondo had requested a trade
For Rajon Rondo, little has changed. He and those around him have long held that his intention for the final two years of his contract with Boston is to play out the deal, first showing that he is healthy after returning from ACL surgery last year, then bouncing back into All-Star form this year as he heads into 2015 free agency.
Thus, sources on both sides disputed the suggestion that emerged this weekend that Rondo had requested a trade
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That, of course, could change. Despite entertaining offers for Rondo for the better part of three years, the Celtics have not gotten an offer that worth pursuing significantly. If something did crop up that would bring in a young potential superstar, the Celtics would have to reconsider their stance against dealing Rondo — but with Rondo posting only so-so-numbers as he completed his rehab last year, his value is relatively low just now.
Boston — and Rondo — could also change stances during the season. If the Celtics come out of the gate stumbling as a team, but Rondo shines as an individual, it would behoove team president Danny Ainge to look at mailing in the season, stockpiling more youth and draft picks and moving Rondo along.
But as it stands, the Celtics need Rondo, and Rondo needs the Celtics. Boston offers Rondo the best opportunity to be a featured star player, to flash his nightly triple-double potential. With free agency looming and his 29th birthday coming next February, Rondo has one opportunity to cash in with a max contract, and it starts this year.
Ainge, for his part, knows that having cap space alone won’t be enough for the Celtics next summer, even with a crowded field of solid free agents — one that lost a key member when Kevin Love was traded to Cleveland. There will be a crowded field of teams with cap space, too, and that’s a major problem for a fair-to-middling team like the Celtics.
What could the C’s possibly offer a free-agent big man on the market next summer, apart from money? The opportunity to play for second-year man Brad Stevens, a wildcard coach? The chance to join a team on which Jeff Green and Avery Bradley are the top scorers? Sure, the Celtics have eight first-round picks in the next four years. Try selling that as part of a pitch to a free agent, though.
What the Celtics do have is Rondo, a throwback pass-first point guard and, if fully healthy, a legitimate star at his position. There is no guarantee that Rondo is going to stick with Boston when next summer comes, and how eager either side is to continue the relationship will depend on how things play out this year — how the Celtics’ young players and young coach develop, and how Rondo performs.
Rondo trade rumors are not new. Over the years, he’s been gone to anywhere from the Lakers to the Kings to the Pistons to the Rockets to the Knicks. But he’s still in Boston, and the plan is still for him to stay there. For now.