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.
Even if Ainge decides to free up cap space by parting with his two elder stars, he needs something to attract free agents. Rondo would be that lure — the facilitator that players such as Al Jefferson and J.J. Redick dream of playing with. Rondo’s cap-friendly contract ($12 million next season, $13 million in 2014-15) also facilitates the addition of free agent pieces.
Though Rondo is responsible for his mercurial, somewhat petulant public image, the locker room is his. He’s not the same kind of leader as Garnett and Pierce. But he has the attention of players like Jeff Green and Avery Bradley.
Green needs him. As evidenced by the inglorious close to the 2012-13 season, Green isn’t good enough at creating his own offense to thrive without a top flight point guard.
Bradley, once and for all, isn’t a point guard. He was at his best playing off the ball, and cutting to those spots where Rondo, and very few others, could deliver an easy look, or a jumper in the flow.
Over the last three months, as Bradley’s play deteriorated, one of the few things that could bring an unabashed smile to the guard’s face was mention of Rondo.
As stated here before, the Celtics may have temporarily played better without Rondo in the three weeks following his departure, but they are not a better team without him. That counts doubly for the playoffs.
So Ainge, a Rondo admirer since the guard was at Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy, may have to finally put aside his curiosity with the point guard’s trade value.
Rondo, foibles and all, is probably the new era.
Boston Herald – Rajon Rondo the linchpin
We’re all aware of the daunting task that faces Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office this summer and beyond. After being on such an NBA high these past six years with the Celtics running amongst the elite crowd in the league, C’s fans are going to find the crashing down to Earth part to be a bumpy ride. Doc, Pierce and KG are the three biggest parts of the machine that need to be re-engineered but as the New Big Three Era comes to a close, Rondo is more than likely going to be the new era.
Now, could he still be traded? I mean have you learned nothing in the Ainge-as-GM-Era? Sure it could happen. Anything is in play with Ainge at the helm and honestly that’ a good thing. As a fan, I want my GM to be active and to always be looking to what it takes to build a contender, not just a good team. We witnessed irrelevant mediocrity for nearly 20 years. That’s not that difficult to do. What is difficult is finding (and keeping) special players and Rondo is one of them.
As the Herald piece above notes, there are several areas that Rondo’s injury directly and eventually indirectly lead to the team’s gradual deterioration. Obviously Rondo’s injury is not the only reason why they ultimately were eliminated in round one, but the trickle down effect hit a lot of spots. Rondo isn’t exactly the most beloved member of the green, some reasons are understandable while others are head scratching. In a recent Boston Globe poll online, 75% of fans (over 2,000 votes) felt that Rondo is the type of franchise player that the C’s could build around. While I agree with this, the team obviously would need to fill the eventual massive voids left by Pierce AND KG.
That’s the most difficult thing to do in the NBA but if and when you do it, you’re in the conversation as a contender. But if you can’t get one of those rare players for Rondo it doesn’t make sense to make a downgrade package for him or a deal that goes sideways where you trade for an equal player at a different position. If you want a point guard that puts up huge scoring numbers over the full 82, then there are several of players out there for you. If you want a guy that raises his level in the playoffs like few other players in this league then I’d hold on to Rondo. To me, I value playoff performance far more than the regular season. Just read Bill Simmons’ recent Trade Value column, especially the part that focuses on CP3. Does that exactly sound like a guy whose attitude is THAT much better?
Again, I’ve always placed a huge emphasis on how players play in the playoffs when the stage is the biggest, the lights are the brightest and the pressure is the highest. More often than not, Rondo has not only proven that he excels on that level but WANTS to not only be there but attack it. Tell me again why you wouldn’t want a guy like that leading your team? Especially at his cap-friendly deal in this NBA world where it gets more and more complex to build a team. I’m open to any and all ideas but it’s likely a smart play to keep Rondo for the new, long-term era.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe – This summer may be Danny Ainge’s most critical with Celtics