Whenever a GM in any sport drafts a player, it is always their hope that the player will start and end their career with the organization.
This rarely happens anymore due to how aggressive the open market is when a player hits free agency. Now in the NBA, the new trend gaining steam is for star players to ask for a trade a year before their contract is up. Individuals like Dwight Howard and Kevin Love have done this most recently. It is a sign of professionalism and courtesy from the player to the organization to let them know that they have no interest in returning to the franchise once their contract expires, while giving them a window to get something back in return before they walk away for good.
Although there are conflicting reports, it is becoming clear that Rajon Rondo’s career with the Boston Celtics may be coming to a close very soon. Rondo has spent all eight of his seasons with the Celtics, and has gone from role player to a legitimate star point guard in the NBA.
In fact, when the Celtics first traded for both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the summer of 2007, many were concerned that Rondo would hold them back and not be totally ready to accept the starting point guard responsibilities. Instead, he helped guide them to a championship during the 2007-08 season, proving to be an master at setting tempo and controlling an offense with effortless ease.
Even if Rondo has not officially requested a trade, it would still make sense for the Celtics to start looking around. They are currently rebuilding with a ton of young assets such as Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and the newly-drafted James Young and Marcus Smart. Given that Rondo is 28 years old and in the last year of his contract, it is not totally clear how he fits in with the team’s plans right now, especially after the Celtics used the sixth pick in the 2014 draft to pick Smart, a point guard, who figures to be their starter for the future.
One player the Celtics may want to look at would be Eric Bledsoe and his current holdout from the Phoenix Suns. It is rumored that Bledsoe is commanding the maximum, and the Suns are unwilling to offer him that.
Bledsoe is only 24 years old, and is coming off his best year in the league where he averaged 17.7 PPG, 5.5 APG and 4.7 RPG on good shooting percentages. He almost led a surprising Suns team to a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western conference.
If the Celtics could engineer a sign-and-trade of Rondo for Bledsoe, agreeing to give Bledsoe what he is asking for, this trade could definitely work. The Suns will probably rightfully demand Rondo agree to sign an extension with them once his contract is up, but they might be willing to take a chance that they can win him over if the team performs well this season.
Each team would much rather keep their respective point guards, but unfortunately for them, it appears both Rondo and Bledsoe might want to start somewhere fresh.
It is never easy to trade a player that has been on the team for almost a decade, but sadly this is the situation the Celtics are facing right now. When they do complete a trade, which eventually will happen, it will definitely be a painful transaction; however, it is also a necessary one to start the next chapter for their team, and that is certainly something they can look forward to.