In the wake of Russell Westbrook having a spat with Kevin Durant while at the same time the Boston Celtics are off to an 0-3 start, there’s been all sports of buzz on the Internet and talk radio about a Westbrook for Rajon Rondo trade.
Stop it. Let it go. It doesn’t work. And it’s a bad idea for the Thunder.
First, you can’t just swap the two — Rondo makes $10 million this season, Westbrook $5 million. NBA rules — even with the new CBA — mean you have to be a lot closer with the salaries, OKC has to give up more. If I were Boston I’d ask for Eric Maynor and Nick Collison to balance it out. Think the Thunder would still do it if they have to give up a couple more guys, quality depth and role players?
Secondly, the Thunder wouldn’t do it in the first place — Rondo is a poor fit in Oklahoma City. Westbrook works there because he is a scoring point guard and the Thunder need his shooting and points from the perimeter (and on drives). Rondo is not a shooter, he’s a slasher. Put Rondo in the back court with Thabo Sefolosha and now you have two guys who are not threats with the outside shot. It makes defending the Thunder easier.
I’m not saying Rondo is better than Westbrook, or visa versa. They’re different, and different fits. Westbrook works well with what the Thunder want to do, Rondo less so. The Thunder would still be good with Rondo, just not as good.
As for the personality clashes, I think it’s overblown. I have concerns about Westbrook’s maturity level at times, but he and Durant seem to get along. By now, what happened yesterday is behind them. Is Rondo’s personality — storming out of meetings and feeling like he gets all the blame and none of the credit in Boston — going to be any better in Oklahoma City? On Kevin Durant’s team?
This deal makes no sense for OKC. They wouldn’t do it. I’m not sure Boston would either, but you never know with Danny Ainge. He did offer a Rondo and Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins and Westbrook deal at one point that probably made Geoff Petrie laugh out loud. Frankly the Celtics would be better off building for the future around Rondo’s unique skill set, but Ainge doesn’t seem to love that idea.