The Globe’s Chris Gasper is the latest local media member who fails to grasp Rajon Rondo’s “value” and role with the Celtics.
Here’s the deal with dealing Rondo, I believe the Celtics would move him in a heartbeat in a trade that would bring back a player who either is or could develop into a bona fide, undisputed, Alpha All-Star, the leading man in the ever-fashionable three-stars blueprint that Ainge followed with the New Big Three. But Rondo can’t command that type of player from the rest of the league.
We learned that when the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans preferred Eric Gordon to Rondo as the centerpiece of a deal for Chris Paul in 2011.
There is a gap in how Rondo is perceived here and around the rest of the NBA. Here Rondo is a dazzling, mesmerizing, whirling dervish of creativity and uncanny basketball geometry, throwing impossible passes and finishing rakish forays into the paint. He is a triple-double-in-waiting and a top-five NBA point guard.
The rest of the league sees a premier playmaker with a shaky shot who has a reputation for recalcitrance.
The fundamental question the Celtics must answer about Rondo, who turns 28 on Saturday, is whether he is good enough to be the best player on a championship team? If he is, hang up the phone when another team calls and sign him to a max contract.
As we’ve said many times, Rondo is not an established franchise cornerstone player. And he’s not in the class of budding cornerstone players, like Paul George, Derrick Rose, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, etc. Rondo’s current offensive limitations keep him outside that circle.
Danny Ainge knows this. Brad Stevens knows this. Wyc Grousbeck knows this. Just because they won’t say it bluntly to the media doesn’t mean they don’t recognize it.
Yes, Chris, the Celtics would move Rajon Rondo in a deal for an undisputed leading man. That’s no secret to anyone, including Rondo.
Of course, Rondo can’t command that type of player in a deal. First of all, those players are rarely traded. Maybe this summer or at the next deadline when guys like Aldridge or Love are ready to explore free agency, Ainge could use Rondo in such a package with a desperate team.
Rondo is a bona fide #2. A guy the alpha dog needs to win a championship. A critical piece of any successful team. That’s his value to the Celtics. Everyone knows as much, except for guys like Chris Gasper.
Finally, Gasper’s decision to include Eric Gordon in his argument is hilarious. New Orleans is actively shopping the oft-injured Gordon and his bloated contract. If granted a do-over, they’d gladly take Rondo over Gordon.