With slightly younger legs underneath Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the Celtics were not just a litmus test for the rest of the league, they were the monster lurking in the shadow, waiting for their opportunity to slowly eat away at you in their yearly quest at attaining one of the prized rings and trophies that so many struggle for, yet so few end up grasping in their careers.
Although it was the three veterans that shaped the early portion of the Celtics’ dynasty that took placed during the later portion of the past decade, it was another player that ended up contouring and shaping the twilight of it. In Rajon Rondo, what was once a piece that seemed destined to merely complement the stars, now stood before us not just a piece, but the most important piece. For evidence, one merely has to glance at the Celtics’ season that was last season once the point guard went down with a torn ACL. Despite the team rallying after the loss of their star, something that even saw them win two games in their first round playoff matchup against the New York Knicks, the writing on the wall had never been clearer.
The Celtics were a team that had reached their expiration date.
Months later, Garnett, Pierce and Doc Rivers were told to kick rocks for a package of players that one probably wouldn’t ask to reach for something on a high shelf for the fear that they might suffer a concussion (Gerald Wallace) or marry another Kardashian (Kris Humphries) in the process, something the world had already seen far too much of.
Now, with the Celtics seemingly going no where fast, anchored by players like the consistently inconsistent Jeff Green, defensive wiz Avery Bradley, along with the young but promising head coach Brad Stevens, is there anything left to do but to push that final self destruction button left on the dusty team control panel sitting idle, and forever attached to the success of the past but not of the future?
Do the Celtics trade Rondo?
As a player, what Rondo can bring to the table is something that the Celtics will always be in dire need of. As a defender, he routinely takes his place among the best at the position and is about as pesky on that end of the floor as he seems off of it. As a distributor, there might not be anyone better, aside for arguments that can be made for Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio. Finally, ignoring his tendency to ruffle feathers and spark conflict within the locker room, there are few players that seem more vocal or competitive than the 27 year old in the league.
All that said, although these traits and skills would obviously improve the fortunes of the Celtics in the short term, is it something that really helps them in their journey to once again construct a team that is capable of winning an NBA Championship? Probably not.
With a core that basically lacks any players that would be mainstays on a championship contender, the team currently has nothing but Rondo to build their future around, something that must be concerning when we consider that Rondo is someone who has significant shortcomings within his game and is already entering his eighth season in the NBA. Not only that, but how does one contain the eventual turmoil that is all but destined to occur at some low point for this current roster once Rondo does return and realizes that he has no one to play with?
As it stands, the pieces that made Rondo so effective, the jump shooters and finishers of previous Celtics’ rosters, are gone. Furthermore, as a player that can’t effectively shoot the basketball on a consistent basis, he is not about to take the city of Boston on his shoulders and carry them to glory. In Rondo, the team could realistically acquire picks or young players that could one day be players that are competing for them during crucial moments within playoff basketball. On the other hand, they could choose to allow him to run up and down the court until he either becomes fed up with losing, or simply leaves at the conclusion of his contract set to expire after next season.
The clock is ticking.