Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Floated that scenario [about trading Rondo] during a call to Boston sports radio WBZ-FM (98.5 the SportsHub), Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge brushed off the suggestion while stressing how much the team likes the Rondo-Avery Bradley backcourt combination moving forward.
“I don’t know what you’re insinuating because Avery is not Rondo and Avery can also play 2 guard with Rondo and those guys have been extremely effective together,” Ainge said. “I know that we haven’t had them together much this year and I think that Rajon loves playing with Avery Bradley for a lot of different reasons. I think that combination last year proved to be spectacular, they just didn’t get a chance to get together much this year, so it’s a little bit unfair.”
[...] Later, Ainge was asked more directly if he’d ponder trading Rondo or Bradley in the offseason given the way his team has performed.
“I can’t envision any scenario, no,” Ainge said. “I love those guys, where Rondo is right in the prime of his career, and Avery’s not even there yet, he’s continuing to get better. I think they are a great guard combination and to ever consider doing something like that, it would have to be something significant.”
“I’d never trade those guys…. unless…..”
Once again the question comes up as the Celtics roll along, tied for 6th in the East (a half game out of 5th, and 2.5 out of 4th). And once again, it’s never as easy as it seems.
The Rondo/Bradley backcourt, as is explained later in that ESPN Boston link, was dominant last season. That, of course, starts with Bradley’s on-ball defense and is bolstered by Rondo’s ability to read the other team and dive into passing lanes.
This year, the numbers weren’t as great, which was fueled by a few different factors. First, Bradley was coming off of double shoulder surgery, and he wasn’t 100% (some guys recently said they still don’t think he’s 100%). Secondly, Rondo was having perhaps the worst defensive season of his career. That was a bad combination.
Still, we saw in the Heat game what a problem a lack of a true point guard can be. The stretch run when Miami clamped down on D begged for a penetrator/distributor to get better shots for the team. So going forward with Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley in the back court could be problematic… something that we might find out the hard way in the playoffs. Which brings us to the question Danny was asked…
Ainge has been pretty clear about his willingness to trade anyone in the right scenario. So it’s possible one or both of those guys could be gone. But Danny’s “right price” is pretty high. You saw last month that Danny wanted a lot more than teams would give for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. We also heard the rumors that a Rondo trade would have had to bring back a Dwight Howard-type star. If that’s what Danny’s looking for moving forward, then we can expect Rondo to stick around for a while.
And, as with any trade talk, you have to take salaries into account. Salaries will very likely have to match (unless they deal with an under-the-cap team). Rajon Rondo is due $11,954,545 next season and $12,909,091 2014/’15 while Bradley is due $2,511,432 and a $3,581,302 qualifying offer in ’14/’15. So you can’t send Rondo out for a max guy next year unless other people are involved. That hinders the process. And when you consider Bradley’s salary and value to the team, there’s no way they can find a player of his impact that’s in the $3 million or less range. That combination makes him un-tradeable.
I believe when Danny says it would have to be significant to move Rondo or Bradley. I don’t know how realistic moves like that are when you take everything into account. Maybe in a couple of years, things will be different. The Celtics will have to deal with restricted FA offers for Bradley and we don’t know how much he’ll be worth after another full (and hopefully healthy) season. Rondo’s up after ’14/’15 and, I’m betting, he’ll be asking for a max contract.
Will he be worth it? Not if the next two seasons are a mirror image of this past one. Then he’s just like his BFF Josh Smith. But if he takes the steps he’s capable of, he’ll make Danny think hard about making Rondo a Celtic, potentially, for life.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Run, run, run | Doc said Terry made right play vs James | Globe – Easier being Green | Ainge: Unfair to call Green next Pierce | Herald – Turning on the Heat | CSNNE – C’s need to run to win in playoffs | Hornets preview – Winning on road | Miami games affirmation for Celtics | WEEI – Doc doesn’t second guess Pierce | Wade – There’s dislike among Heat, Cs