Ken Berger of CBS Sports has this blockbuster report:
However, CBSSports.com has learned that the Lakers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions with an unlikely trade partner regarding Howard: their fierce rival, the Boston Celtics. The centerpieces of the possible deal, which hasn’t gained any traction, would be Howard and Rajon Rondo.
The imagination runs rampant with the tantalizing possibilities.
Other significant pieces would have to be involved, since Rondo’s $11 million salary is substantially less than Howard’s $19.5 million. If the Lakers dealt Howard for an All-Star point guard who is out for the rest of the season following ACL surgery, they’d effectively be throwing in the towel on this miserable, underachieving season and looking to next year.
The Celtics would be going all-in for a quick rebuild centered around Howard, with the hopes they could find a point guard in the draft or in free agency to capably run their offense – which they’ve managed to do in Rondo’s absence anyway. Celtics president Danny Ainge has flirted with several trade possibilities for Rondo over the years, and the point guard’s hyper-competitive drive and strong personality have proved difficult for coach Doc Rivers to manage.
There are at least two significant impediments to a Howard-Rondo deal. First, as Howard said Friday, the Lakers continue to insist they won’t trade him, which sources say is the impression the Celtics have gotten, too. Second, Celtics president Danny Ainge would not trade Rondo without an assurance that Howard would re-sign with Boston as a free agent this summer, a league source said. Howard has shown no inclination to commit to anyone, including the Lakers, until the season is over.
The Herald’s Mark Murphy has an update:
“The Lakers like Rondo, and (the Celtics) have looked into getting Howard in the past,” said the source, who termed the likelihood of such a deal now “unlikely.”
My answer is… I don’t know.
There are so many variables; Dwight’s health for the remainder of the season and his reluctance to sign an extensions are two.
If Howard can get healthy this season, the Celtics suddenly become a very real threat to win the championship. He might even be worth the rental, considering that Paul Pierce and KG are nearing the end.
According to the ESPN trade machine, adding Brandon Bass to the mix makes for a successful trade.
Here’s a question from the Lakers perspective… what would they do with Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo?