Option No. 1 when a team is going to trade a player: talk him up. Try to raise the trade value.
That could be what is going on here with today’s Rajon Rondo spin out of Boston, but there is a second option as well: They really would prefer to keep him. In today’s NBA it’s easier to get a second superstar to come onboard if you already have one.
The reality in Boston — both option one and two. They would love to keep him but if it comes to moving him they want real value back.
First co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said this to CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely.
Now general manager Danny Ainge, who is clearly sick of the Rondo question, said this to Jay King of masslive.com.
“Yeah, we expect Rajon to be in Boston for the long term. Does that need to be asked anymore by anybody ever again?”
“I expect the best year of his career,” Ainge added. “He’s worked really hard this summer and I think Rondo’s going to have the best year of his life. That’s what I expect.
“He’s just a year removed from the injury. He’s growing all the time. He’s improving, he’s maturing as a leader. He’s just getting better. He’s in the prime of his career right now. And I think what he went through last year was frustrating for him, and I think that drove him to have a good, hard-working summer. I don’t think it’s the contract (motivating him) at all. I think it’s who he is. He wants to be good.”
Rondo could be poised for a breakout year, although his game has always been about making those around him better on offense and we can debate how far his style could lift these teammates.
What Ainge has done well is leave his options open. It’s easier to persuade a star to come then re-sign after a trade if Rondo is in house (Boston tried to get Kevin Love last summer). He’s always demanded a lot back in a Rondo trade, and if someone threw an unprotected (or lightly protected) first rounder in the mix a deal would likely happen fast. Just nobody is offering that. If Rondo tells them he could be gone that price is going to need to drop a little, but Ainge isn’t giving up. The landscape shifts quickly in the NBA, being patient is often the right play.
So in the short term, he denies the trade rumors and talks up Rondo. Expect him to stick with that plan.