COMMENTARY | With Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Doc Rivers gone, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics have clearly entered a rebuilding phase. Although many believe that the next big name to leave town should be point guard Rajon Rondo, it's unclear whether or not he will be dealt. Ainge has repeatedly said that he has no intentions of trading his best remaining player, although teams around the league certainly still have interest in asking anyway.
Reportedly, the Detroit Pistons are one of those teams waiting for Rondo to become available.
Now, it is reported that free agent forward Josh Smith has agreed to a deal with the Pistons. Smith was rumored to be a potential fit with the Boston Celtics, due to his friendship with Rajon Rondo. The two were teammates in high school, and many believed that bringing Smith to town would lead to a happier, more productive Rondo.
With Smith now in Detroit, would it be smart of Danny Ainge to seriously look at sending Rondo to the Pistons?
A combination of Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond is one loaded with talent, but is certainly repetitive. There would be a severe lack of spacing while all three are on the court together, and it would be tough to run an efficient offense. Smith is capable of playing small forward, but he would inevitably end up taking some minutes away from Drummond and Monroe. He is probably best at power forward, which Detroit will soon figure out.
Detroit has committed to Smith for the long-term. After a rookie season where Andre Drummond showed a ton of potential and got basketball fans extremely excited about his future, it's safe to assume that Drummond is close to untouchable in any trade. However, could Monroe become available in a deal for Rondo?
Monroe has been extremely productive in his three seasons with Detroit, particularly on the offensive end. He has been one of the team's few bright spots during multiple losing seasons.
Wouldn't a package of Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight at least draw Danny Ainge's attention? With the Smith signing, Monroe may become expendable for the right price. To bring Josh Smith's friend to Detroit for the price of Monroe and Knight probably wouldn't have made sense before, but it may be a possibility now.
Skilled big men are rare, which is exactly what Monroe is. While he has his deficiencies defensively, Monroe would give the Celtics some much needed offensive help. Brandon Knight is clearly not the same creator that Rondo is, but his three-point shooting and scoring ability would be very valuable next to the defensive-minded Avery Bradley.
Kelly Olynyk was recently drafted in the first round, but he will probably require a little time before he's ready to play significant minutes. Jared Sullinger was a bright spot when he got minutes last season, but his injury concerns are legitimate.
This deal would probably make the Celtics worse in the short-term, but could pay huge dividends down the road. It could lead to a higher draft pick in 2014, with the ultimate prize being Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Even in Detroit, Monroe and Knight have shown noticeable improvement. Brad Stevens should be able to help both of them grow into the players that many believe they can be.
Looking forward, a group of Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and two first-round picks in 2014 could be a scary core. Ainge may be able to turn Rondo into two potentially very good, young players.
Danny Ainge has said that he is not looking to trade Rajon Rondo, but this is one scenario that he would have to consider very seriously. With Josh Smith signing with the Pistons, Detroit's interest in Rajon Rondo may be even greater.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured onFox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports , and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Rajon Rondo
- Boston Celtics
- Danny Ainge
- Josh Smith
- Greg Monroe
- Brandon Knight
- Andre Drummond