The only person in professional sports to be named in more trade rumors over the past couple years than Rajon Rondo is the MLB’s “player to be named later.”
That has included this year because Rondo’s contract is up at the end of the season and the Celtics, in the middle of a rebuilding mode, may struggle to keep him. Which means Rondo can’t even go to breakfast with Kobe Bryant without that setting off a flood of baseless rumors.
But not all the rumors that Rondo could be moved are baseless. The Celtics apparently are more serious than ever about moving Rondo, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.
As much as ever in his nine seasons in Boston, the Celtics have left strong impressions with rival organizations that they’re prepared to make a deal that includes Rondo, sources said. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as “serious” in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent.
Boston’s asking price for Rondo remains “pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay,” one league official told Yahoo. Trade talks with Rondo have been focused more in the Western Conference than Eastern, sources said.
That asking price could be a real issue. In the past the Celtics have demanded a top 20 type of player in return for Rondo — or a boatload of picks — and even if they bring that price down some in an effort to get a deal done, how much are teams really going to surrender for a player that can walk at the end of the season? Teams can try to make a handshake deal with Rondo about staying wherever he gets traded, but still because he could bolt teams are not likely to give up key pieces.
Plus, Rondo is a point guard and the NBA is stacked like never before with quality ones — a number of teams will not be in the market because they are set at the spot. Just ask Eric Bledsoe.
Still, Rondo can be a key player on a championship team — he has the ring to prove it. He is long, athletic and a very good and disruptive defender on the perimeter. He has great court vision, he has handles and can get in the lane, but when he does he prefers to pass instead of shoot. Rondo is averaging 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds a game, but also 8 points a game on 40 percent shooting (and 24 percent from three).
When the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart a lot of people around the league thought they would look to move Rondo. It seems they are serious about trying.
But we’re a long way from a deal getting done.