Late last night, news broke via Yahoo! Sports and Marc Stein that the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks were involved in “substantive” discussions surrounding a trade for impending free agent points guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo (8.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 10.8 APG) has long been the center trade speculation since the Celtics broke up their 2008 NBA Championship Celtics core that included Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Following the demise and subsequent rebuilding mantra that has defined the Celtics the past several seasons; Rondo has become a polarizing figure in Boson. The four-time NBA All-Star and Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge have not always seen everything eye-to-eye and Rondo was rumored to have played a key role in the departure of former coach Doc Rivers, after almost getting into a physical altercation. Rondo is in the last year of a five-year, $55 million deal before hitting the free agent market next summer.
At 19-8 the Mavs find themselves in a uniquely difficult situation. They have a core of stars in Dirk, Monta and Parsons that have the makings on paper to be one of the best teams in the league, let alone the Western Conference. However, through 27 games, the Mavs have yet to prove they can beat the NBA’s elite, largely built on the team’s inability to defend the perimeter and allowing opponents to shoot a league high 39.2 percent from the three-point line, that seemingly spearheaded trade talks after the team’s disastrous defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday afternoon at the AAC.
While we’re all ready to kick the tires and Photoshop Rondo into the Mavs blue, Dallas fans must proceed cautiously when thinking about the potential inclusion of Rondo on the Mavs roster.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 17, 2014
Out of Nowhere
While it may seem like the Mavs storyline suddenly vaulted from championship contender to let’s blow this team up, the Mavs inclusion in trade talks with Rondo has been an ongoing conversation for years. On Monday, players who were signed this summer (before September 19) became eligible to be traded through February 19, 2015. The Mavs have long coveted Rondo, but have always lacked the assets to land the Kentucky product.
Using the Championship Formula
Since joining the Mavs in 2008, Rick Carlisle has managed his team utilizing the same formula: a free-flowing, high-powered offense and his coveted zone defense scheme quarterbacked by an athletic big. This formula ultimately proved be a success in 2011 when the Mavs won their first championship in franchise history and the Mavs have worked tireless to recreate a team based on that blueprint ever since the team was mistakenly broken up.
In the Mavs offense, Rondo would play the role of 2011 Jason Kidd as Mr. Reliable. He could provide the Mavs with a backcourt leader who could facilitate with excellent ball handling skills, a pass-first mentality with high basketball IQ. On defense, Rondo would be able to utilize his unique size, with the wingspan and quickness to defend the leagues bigger players.
For Coach Carlisle, it would present another opportunity to revitalize Rondo’s career as he did with Monta Ellis. At just 28, Rondo’s numbers have steadily declined the past three seasons, after dealing with injuries and a lack of a capable supporting cast. Rondo would relish at the opportunity to play and learn under Carlisle and Dirk.
Blowing Up the Team
While it seems it was just yesterday that Mavs were rejoicing to that sound of Chandler Parsons in the Mavs uniform, the honeymoon phase for the potential to reality of this team is all but over. Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and the rest of the Mavs front office is poised to squeeze every ounce of Dirk’s career to bring another championship back to Dallas and that means nearly everyone is capable of being traded, with the exception of the Dirk-Monta-Parsons-Chandler core. The most likely scenario to get Rondo in a Mavs uniform would require at a minimum the NBA’s field goal percentage leader in Brandan Wright, a 2015 first-round pick and the Mavs taking back a bad contract or two from the Celtics. If that’s the case, be prepared to see the likes of Gerald Wallace or Evan Turner in a Mavs uniform.
Despite Rondo’s stock being at an all-time low, the Mavs simply lack the assets to entice the Celtics into an imminent trade. Rondo’s talent and promising future alone warrant a package of players in return that the Celtics simply could get more of on the open NBA market. This highly publicized story forces other teams to rapidly raise their offers for Rondo, in order to ensure they aren’t left out in the cold. This story, and the trade talks surrounding them, will likely fizzle out in the next few days and ratchet back up by the February 19 trade deadline when teams are ready to make deals rather than just talk about them.
Photo Credit: DallasBasketball.com; Buzzfeed.com
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