Celtics nation is buzzing about the rumored Rajon Rondo (and Jermaine O'Neal) for Pau Gasol trade.
In an effort to bring clarity and reason to this debate, John and I have decided to lay out a case for each side.
Here are my 5 reasons why the Celtics should make the deal*:
1. Offensive talent
Pau Gasol is the best offensive big man in the game. According to ESPN's John Hollinger, Gasol is "a highly skilled post scorer with excellent dexterity and 18-foot range. He's a smart player, sees floor well and can make jump hook with either hand." He might be more effective if he wasn't playing alongside the Black Hole, I mean, Black Mamba.
2. Solid rebounder
Gasol has a career 9.2 rpg average. He's routinely in the top ten. If you haven't noticed, the Celtics are a terrible rebounding team. He's also a good shot blocker.
3. He's young enough and durable
Gasol will be 32 in July. Kevin Garnett was the same age when he was traded to Boston. Gasol has played in 80+ games two of the last three seasons. He has yet to miss a game this season. He's averaged 37 minutes per game the last 4 seasons. I think that qualifies as durable. And as he ages, there's plenty of room to reduce his minutes.
4. Big men are harder to find
How many elite point guards are in the game? CP3, D-Will, Rose, Nash, Westbrook, Parker, Wall, and Rondo make 8. And you have Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio on the cusp of stardom. There are maybe half as many elite bigs (Dwight Howard, Pau and Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Noah). What's the old saying – "you can't teach height?"
5. He's tougher than you think
Yes, I saw the 2008 NBA Finals. The Celtics mopped the floor with Gasol. But that was the old Pau. He was a beast in 2009 and 2010.
Here are John's 5 reasons why the Celtics should not make the deal:
1: It's a point guard league
Just look at the New York Knicks for all the evidence you need to not do this deal. With Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, they were floundering. It wasn't until they got a point guard to run the team did the Knicks start making any noise at all.
Avery Bradley cannot run this team. He's very good defensively, but the books out on him. He'll get pressured full court right away and you'll watch the turnovers pile up.
2: Realize what you have.
If you asked most people "how willing would you be to give up a 26 year-old, two-time All Star point guard?"… I'm sure most people would look at you cock-eyed wondering what the rest of the trick question is.
He is flawed, no doubt. But people are letting their frustrations with the team as a whole get the best of them. We're seeing the mob mentality in full effect. Fans are grabbing their torches and pitchforks and they want to scapegoat someone, and Rondo is a popular target. But it's a bit mis-guided. Yes, he gambles too much on D, but he also can lock people down. His jumper is improving, despite what you want to believe.
He's 26. He hasn't peaked. He's only just getting started.
3: Aren't we trying to get younger?
Gasol might be 32, but he's played a ton of international ball and he's played 77 playoff games in the past four years. Yes, he's durable right now, but he's essentially played five full NBA seasons over the past four years. He's also played in the 2006 FIBA World Championships, 2007 Eurobasket, 2008 Olympics, and the 2009 & 20011 Eurobasket. Five tournaments at about nine games per tournament… and that's another half of an NBA season just during those offseasons.
He's been alive 32 years, but his body is older than that. You can only put so much stress on a body before it breaks.
4: Remember the whole "Gasoft" thing?
All we've heard this year is how Gasol's mind has been elsewhere becasue of the trade rumors. I don't get how people can get on Rondo for his attitude but then be willing to take on Gasol, who has repeatedly been in reports about how extraneous BS gets into his mind. I know how talented he is, but he's also going to be playing along side three other guys who demand the ball too. Is he REALLY going to be happy with 8 or 9 shots a game while everyone else gets theirs? I don't think so.
5: You want to help the Lakers? Really??
Finally… I don't know how any self-respecting Celtics fan would make a frustration trade like this and give the Lakers a point guard they so desperately need… and maybe even pave the way for them to get Dwight Howard. Because that's what we want to see…. Boston with Tony Allen-light trying run the point while Rondo is tossing alley oops to Dwight and feeding Kobe for 30 a night. I'm sure when we're knee deep in rebuilding, we'll be glad to know we played a huge part in letting the Lakers reload, rather than join us in the pit of despair for a couple of years.
*I don't actually want them to do the deal, but this is my best shot at objective reasoning to represent that side