The ink isn't even dry on the contract of Detroit's newly acquired point guard, Brandon Jennings, but he is already being linked to a potential trade next season involving himself and Rondo as the core pieces.
An excerpt from the article explains Detroit's interest:
"Just because the Pistons acquired Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks doesn't mean they've lost interest in Rajon Rondo. In fact, they could eventually use Jennings as a trade chip and seek to acquire Rondo. There are going to be several interested parties in Rondo, and that number could increase when he shows he's fully recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery."
This, of course, doesn't mean the Celtics will feel the need to oblige Detroit or even pick up the phone should the Pistons want to make the rumor become reality. Jennings is a volume shooter who has never connected on better than 41% of his shots in his career. Conversely, Rondo is a pass-first player who has never shot less than 41% in his career while leading the league in assists the last two seasons.
While questions surround Rondo's peculiar personality, he is a proven winner and champion. Jennings, on the other hand, has yet to win a playoff series. Even with Rondo's flaws, he is still the guy most teams would choose to build around if given a choice between him and Jennings. Certainly, the Pistons are aware of the gap between the two and would sweeten the offer based on those facts without even getting into the intangibles of each player -- or at least the Celtics would hope.
Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has a history of overvaluing his players. He would ask for your first born if league rules would allow it. The Pistons should expect him to be a special kind of crazy in any negotiations for Rondo. He would (and should) ask Detroit for more than just Jennings if talks were to ever become substantial. Something in the neighborhood of Jennings, Greg Monroe (or Andre Drummond) and Rodney Stuckey for Rondo and Brandon Bass could work under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
In any potential deal for Rondo, Boston will try to attach the contract of Bass, Courtney Lee or Gerald Wallace to create greater cap flexibility sooner. That alone could be the deal breaker for the Pistons without even getting to the issue of including one of their very promising frontcourt players in Monroe and Drummond. Having to choose from Bass, Lee or Wallace and commit to either of them for multiple years will make most opposing general managers pause and run for the door in most situations -- some may even run through it.
Still, the principle pieces of Jennings and Rondo can't seriously be discussed until after December 15. That is when Jennings is eligible to be traded after signing a three-year deal this summer per collective bargaining rules. Couple that with Rondo's health and questionable return to form, and this seemingly interesting storyline could become moot.
Rondo's name is sure to continue to inspire intrigue from savvy general managers trying to ascertain the future of the Celtics come next season. Assuming Rondo does return to his natural level of play, Jennings will be just one of many players offered up for exchange.
Warren Shaw is a NBA contributor to Dime Magazine and Co-host of the weekly basketball podcast "The Baseline". He has covered various NBA events live while also conducting one on one player interviews. His work can also be found at Celticslife.com and Prosportsblogging.com.
Follow him on Twitter @shawsports.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brandon Jennings
- Boston Celtics
- Rajon Rondo