Friday, December 19, 2014

Defending the Rondo Trade

Photo: Getty Images

I want to start out this post with a disclaimer.

This is not a Rondo bashing post as he now is a Maverick. I enjoyed watching Rajon Rondo play in a Celtics uniform for the past 8 seasons. He was part of the 2008 championship team, the best Celtics team in my generation. He also blossomed into an All- Star point guard who at least once a night was due for a play that would turn heads and make the TD Garden erupt.

Rondo has become the best rebounding guard and assist man in the league, and I will truly miss the triple-double watch on what seemed to be a nightly basis. That was just in regular season Rondo, lets not forget Prime Time National TV Rondo, or Playoff Rondo as he would always step his game up in those moments. The Mavericks got a steal as they are a championship caliber team without Rondo, and now they vault to to top 4 of the West as a favorite.

Photo: Getty Images

All that being said, I really don't hate the trade. It's not that I think Rajon Rondo will be addition by subtraction, but this move HAD to happen. Let's be real, was Rondo really going to re-sign with the Celtics after the season for anything less than max money?

Those discussions would have had to have taken place over the course of the past few seasons, and it would have been irresponsible for Danny Ainge to not deal his most valuable asset before he walks for nothing in return.  

You can say, this trade is now starting a serious 'deep rebuild' but I would say we have BEEN in a rebuild. Ainge has been trying to rebuild this team since the original Big Three disbanded. Personally, I believe that Ainge has been doing a pretty good job. In a league where first round draft picks are a precious commodity, Ainge has been able to STOCKPILE those picks like he was a nerd with Pokemon cards. The Celtics are lined up with three first round picks in 2015, and 9 in total in the upcoming 4 NBA Drafts. 

Some may look at the return the Celtics received back for the former all-star point guard, and say that Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and a future first, and second round pick are not close to enough for Rondo.  I agree that we didnt get an All- Star in return, nor did we get a young stud, but truthfully the return isn't bad, here's why.
Photo: Getty Images

Rajon Rondo is in the final year of his deal, so that narrows it down the teams who would want Rondo, to teams that are in championship contention. A team that is currently in the lottery is not going to risk their first round pick for someone who can walk at the end of the year. Also, if Rondo is gonna play on a team in a rebuild, then he would have already signed a contract extension with the C's.

That narrows down Rondo's suitors to about 10 possible teams. When you look at all the contending teams out there, who is really in need of a point guard? The West is stockpiled with all-star caliber PG's, so why would they offer much at all for Rondo. Ainge's leverage in this situation was limited, and the more he would wait the more teams would play hardball and start to pull back offers. 

Ainge had no choice, Rondo's value across the league diminished. It's no knock against Rondo, but is just the reality across the league. If Ainge had traded Rondo a few years back before John Wall, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, and Russell Westbrook transformed the point guard position, then the return would have been a lot more. Now, with his options limited, Ainge got what he could and I can't fault him for that.

Looking ahead to the rest of this season and the future of the "Brad Stevens Era," it's clear Rondo was not in the plans. The Celtics have already drafted their point guard of the future in Marcus Smart so this move will open up playing time for the rookie.

Smart has suffered through a few injuries in his young career, but has been crazy efficient while on the floor. He brings energy, tenacious defense, and is developing an offensive touch that will now have to develop a lot quicker. Smart, like Rondo, makes his teammates better on the floor, which is a major reason why now was the time to deal.

For C's fans it will be tough to watch Rondo be Rondo in a Mavs uniform, but this was a trade that the Celtics will win when it's all said and done.

- Sean Dutra
@seandutra on twitter 

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