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The Boston Celtics appear willing to make major roster changes to balance a chance for a championship run and future financial flexibility.
The Celtics offered Ray Allen(notes) and Rajon Rondo(notes) to the Detroit Pistons for a package that included Richard Hamilton(notes), Tayshaun Prince(notes) and Rodney Stuckey(notes), league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge and Detroit’s Joe Dumars never spoke, but rather the Celtics had a lower-level executive make the pitch to a Pistons official over the past weekend, league sources said. Detroit immediately rejected the idea, and it never advanced to the two top executives speaking about particulars.
This isn’t an uncommon occurrence for a GM like Ainge to dispatch an underling to make that kind of a call, if for no other reason to give the top executive some level of deniability that he’s shopping his stars.
This isn’t the first time that Allen, a six-time All-Star, has been mentioned in trade talks this summer. Allen, who will soon turn 34, has an expiring contract of nearly $20 million, for next season. Rondo, 24, a rapidly developing point guard, has been publically termed off-limits by Ainge in trade discussion this summer. Nevertheless, his name found a way into this conversation. Rondo averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 assists and 5.2 rebounds in the regular season, and had three triple-doubles in the Celtics' playoff run this season.
Boston is unlikely to re-sign Allen to a long-term extension next summer, and there is belief around the league that the Celtics have hesitancy about committing a long-term, expensive contract to Rondo.
There has been some friction with Rondo, largely based on maturity. No issues with him are insurmountable, but Ainge has never minded shopping ideas around the league. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine a deal that Boston could do with these two players that would give them a chance to stay a championship contender around Kevin Garnett(notes) and Paul Pierce(notes).
For the Pistons, this deal makes little sense, unless they wanted to let Allen's expiring deal gain even more salary cap space for the free-agent class of 2010. The idea of trading his three best returners for an expiring contract and one good young player wasn’t worth considering for Dumars, sources said.