Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has repeatedly said that All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo isn’t up for grabs. That the Celtics plan to build around him. That he’s their future. True story.
“I want to make sure Rondo comes back healthy,” Ainge told CBS Boston in September. “He’s such an important part of our future. We want him to come back healthy.”
Does that not mean nothing anymore? Rumors haven’t stopped. The New York Knicks continue to link themselves to him, knowing full well they have no chance in hell at acquiring him before 2015, when he’s an unrestricted free agent. Tough to blame them and any other team ignoring Ainge’s comments though, the Kings included.
According to The Latino Post‘s Onchie Ebriega, the Kings are preparing a blockbuster trade proposal for the four-time All-Star (three appearances):
In a rumored blockbuster deal, the Sacramento Kings are reportedly trying to put together an enticing trade package for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, a source close to situation reported on Sunday.
According to a league source, the Kings are proposing a package that would send point guard Isaiah Thomas, shooting guard Ben McLemore, veteran swingman Marcus Thornton, power forward Jason Thompson and two future first-round picks to the Celtics in exchange for Rondo.
Hold the phone. No wait, actually, pick it up. Yeah you, Danny. Pick. It. Up.
Far as trade offers go, that one is pretty damn good. Jason Thompson’s contract is gross, but he can play the center position, a hole Boston desperately needs to plug. Isaiah Thomas, Mr. Irrelevant turned ridiculously relevant, also provides a cheap, affordable replacement for Rondo at point.
Ben McLemore could give the Celtics their shooting guard of the future. Avery Bradley has been playing out of his damn mind, but he’s due for an extension this offseason. If the Celtics don’t want to pay him, well, they can have an athletically inclined, sharp-shooting McLemore instead.
Marcus Thornton has the potential to be fool’s gold, but his contract is reasonable and expires after next season. Plus, look at what rookie head coach Brad Stevens has done with Jordan Crawford—transformed him into a semi-efficient scorer with a playmaking conscience and only a questionable (not downright awful) shot selection. Perhaps he could do the same with Thornton.
Real value is found in those first-round picks. A team comprising Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Rondo doesn’t figure to be awful, but in the Western Conference, they might not even be a playoff team. If those first-round picks are unprotected, they could become incredible gets come draft day.
But this package is not without its issues. As we said before, Thompson’s contract is ugly. Thomas is also due for an extension after this season. He has a qualifying offer for under $1.2 million the Celtics could extend, but let’s face it, someone is going to offer him more. He’s short, but powerful. If the Celtics don’t want to pay him, then that diminishes his value in the trade.
Sactown’s first-rounders also won’t be for this season. The Kings’ 2014 first-round selection is owed to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s top-12 protected through this season, and top-10 protected through 2017, meaning the earliest the Celtics would get one is 2016. That’s assuming the Kings finish outside the top-12 lottery teams in the NBA this season, which even with Rondo is unlikely. More likely, Boston wouldn’t receive one until 2017, because the Cavs would own the rights to Sactown’s in 2015—assuming the Kings don’t receive a top-10 pick—and you cannot trade first-rounders in consecutive years.
Well would you look at that, my buzz is gone.
No doubt this is a competitive offer, and you have to appreciate what the Kings are doing here (being aggressive), but is it good enough?
For a Celtics team likely looking for immediate first-round picks, I’m not so sure.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.