The NBA Draft has come and gone and now the free-agency period begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
The prize of free agency this year is Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, whom many believe will not return to Los Angeles next year. That thought has a handful of teams trying to upgrade their roster to be in better position to sign the seven-time All-Star.
One team, the Dallas Mavericks, is in talks with the Boston Celtics to acquire All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, according to number of reports. The Mavericks believe Rondo would be the missing piece to lure Howard to Dallas.
With the Celtics in full-blown rebuild mode, and the Mavericks in need of an elite point guard and a possible landing spot for Howard, it would appear the two teams have some common ground when discussing a Rondo deal.
Rondo averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 assists per game last season and helped guide the Celtics to their sixth straight playoff appearance.
At issue for the Mavericks is they do not have prime assets to offer the Celtics for the four-time All-Star.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Celtics have asked for Dirk Nowitzki to be included in any trade.
ESPNDallas reports the Celtics would be interested in acquiring Shane Larkin, the point guard out of Miami whom the Mavericks selected with the 18th pick in the draft on Thursday.
In addition, Dallas would probably have to take on a number of bad salaries that Boston would like to dump. Dallas is well under the salary cap, which would allow Mark Cuban to absorb some of those contracts.
Rondo has two years left on his contract at a total of $25 million.
After the Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe the club would build around Rondo and that Rondo would not be traded.
Asked if he was comfortable with Rondo as the team's centerpiece, Ainge said: "Yes, we are. There's guys we're not looking to move right now."
Asked if one of those players was Rondo, Ainge said: "Yeah."