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The NBA Draft may be just two days away but the rumor mill is afire with trade talk, most notably a trade involving the 2008 World Champion Boston Celtics. Over the past few weeks we’ve heard Rajon Rondo’s name floated around with Phoenix as a possible destination. The newest rumor circulating from a ‘low level official’ is the Celtics send Rondo and Ray Allen to the Pistons for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Sssssssssssstuckey.
Before getting to the thoughts of GM Danny Ainge, here’s the lowdown on how the trade plays out:
Now on to the likelihood of the trade. Simply put, it’s not very likely. Here’s what Ainge said today about the report:
“We love Rajon and I’m not going to comment on which rumors are true or not true,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “We love this kid and I don’t anticipate trading anyone from our core.”
A rather diplomatic answer to be sure. This trade makes a heck of a lot of sense for the Pistons – who are at the beginning of a possible rebuild and looking to clear cap space for next summer’s free agent frenzy – as they receive a young point guard who they can sign to a big deal along with signing a guy like Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010. They get rid of two long term contracts and acquire an expiring one in Ray Allen. This trade would keep them competitive and keep Detroit as a likable destination for free agents.
For the Celtics this deal keeps them as one of the top two or three teams in the NBA. Stuckey isn’t Rajon Rondo just yet but is a good young point guard. In Prince and Hamilton you get two reliable veterans and solidify the sixth man position. The Celtics would enter the season with easily the best six man rotation in the NBA: Stuckey, Rip, Pierce, Garnett and Perkins starting with Prince off the bench.
What I don’t like about this deal are the contracts. The beauty of the big 3 was Allen, Pierce and Garnett have contracts that expire in three separate years, allowing the Celtics to make easier decisions every off season. The good thing about the deal is that the starting six would all be locked up for the next two seasons, but you are also stuck with quite a few aging players two and three years down the road. The money would be a wash, as Rip/Prince/Stuckey make about the same as Allen/Rondo. The report from Yahoo Sports says the Pistons rejected this deal, which doesn’t make sense to me. Either way, it would be quite a risk to break up the core of the Big 3 at this point. Then again, we all thought it was crazy when the Celtics traded a top 10 pick for the aging Ray Allen.
Either way, it’s inspiring to see the Celts are still concentrated on winning now, with or without one of their young stars.