With the Big 3 era at a close, the Boston Celtics must look to the future. While there is little wonder if the team will be in for a good season or not, the focus has been set on years to come, in which the Celtics must try to return to their previous glory.
However, some believe that the Celtics’ rebuilding process is characterized not by the draft picks acquired or by sending away the veterans, but by the status of Rajon Rondo. I have heard it argued that for the Celtics to truly reload, they must trade away Rondo. Until that happens, Boston will float in about the middle of the pack with maybe a low-playoff hope but no real long term expectations of greatness. This is a trend we see play out in the Milwaukee Bucks, who have been seemingly in a reload/rebuild for years.
If those who believe Rondo must go are correct, where would the Celtics possibly send him? Sure Rondo is a coveted asset around the league, but he has displayed no desire to play anywhere else besides Boston and appears to be unfazed by playing his prime away on a non-playoff team. However, the real issue arises in the fact there are very few players the Celtics could get in exchange for the young point guard that would be as good a franchise cornerstone as he is.
Sure, I’d rather build my franchise around Steph Curry, James Harden, or Kevin Durant. Who wouldn’t? But realistically, there is no trading up for Rondo.
In the situation Boston is in, they aren’t going to find a better team-starting piece than Rondo.
The Celtics have a young, All-Star point guard about to enter his prime with a knack for triple doubles whose game revolves around making his teammates better and is highlighted by his incredible basketball IQ and versatility as a player. On top of that, time and time again Rondo has displayed a loyalty to his franchise.
If the Celtics were to deal Rondo in hopes of going full steam ahead on the rebuild, they would be getting too aggressive in their desire for a fresh start. The Philadelphia 76ers are the perfect example of a team that sent out a star to somehow aid a rebuild. When the Sixers got rid of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, they weren’t making a shrewd basketball decision. They were going so far overboard with a rebuild that they threw the proverbial All-Star baby out with the bathwater.
Add in the fact the Celtics have already begun construction on a core for Rondo with Jeff Green (and possibly Courtney Lee), and there are no legitimate reasons to dump Rondo in hopes of somehow making the Celtics better down the road.
Yes, things are going to have to get worse before they can get better in Boston. But that doesn’t mean Rondo needs to go anywhere.