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The Celtics won a Championship a year ago–it was glorious. The Big Three, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo were the starters and right now the Celtics have the same team. So why is there so much trade talk?
The only logical explanation is a concern for the future.
If the Celtics were to keep the original starters of that championship team last year, there’s no denying they would run away with the championship. Perkins and Rondo have become too good, and as long as the Big Three remained healthy, the Celtics would be serious contenders.
But the Celtics have already won a championship–Think Dynasty.
Remember the 1990 Celtics, the other big three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish. When they stayed and the Celtics chose to have them retire in Boston, that is when the Celtics Dynasty began to decline. They were left with no one to trade, no cap room and low draft picks.
It definitely makes sense that Danny Ainge is hustling to try and make something happen, to ensure the next ten seasons that more championship banners are hanging from the rafters in the Garden.
So, it comes down to a number of things: Is Rondo worth the money?
Right now he is paid on a rookie contract, but he expects to be paid as a max contract player. The decision comes down to whether or not Ainge and the Celtics believe Rondo can be that leader of the future. Can he be paid big bucks and be the player the Celtics can build around? Can he be the face of the Celtics that leads the team once Allen and KG and Pierce retire?
Some say yes, others no.
He nearly averaged a triple double in the playoffs. He is sneaking into the same category as Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, and Derrick Rose. But, you know he can’t take the big shot. You know he’s never double-covered, in fact most of the time he’s uncovered. But, he produces in other ways like assists and rebounds obviously, and hustles as well. It also helps that he’s a sophomore.
Ainge was quoted on WEEI this week saying Rondo “has to grow up” and against the Magic in the playoffs “his presence hurt us” and that he is “not a max contract player.”
It is shocking that Ainge would say this publicly about a player, but the sense is that Ainge would not be discontent to trading him, and that he is skeptical as to whether or not Rondo can be a max-contract guy. Is Ainge trying to motivate his player? Test him? He also was quoted saying “[Rondo] is a disruptive force [on the court]” and “we love the kid.”
So does the rest of Boston.
After seeing Rondo fling Kirk Hinrich to the floor, get in Kobe’s face, and pretty much punch Tommy Heinsohn’s arch-enemy Brad Miller square in the teeth, you knew he was a fighter and a winner (every other sentence Heinsohn said during the Bulls playoffs series had to do with him hating Brad Miller).
But in the wake of the coming year’s free agency market, which is the best the NBA has seen, the events building definitely point to the fact that the Celtics are working on a tough decision: trade Rondo, save money, risk the immediate few seasons but plan on the next couple of years, or commit to him and believe he can become the leader that can raise the banners.