Despite the fact that Rondo is coming off a torn ACL, serious value could be had for him in a prospective trade. Per Ben Watanabe of NESN.com, GM Danny Ainge stated on Thursday that Rondo wasn't available as a trade chip. But that didn't stop the Dallas Mavericks from inquiring, as reported by DallasBasketball.com's Mike Fisher (subscription required).
However, an encouraging development for the Boston faithful came when Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald cited two of his sources, who essentially called the deal ludicrous:
"The Celtics haven't had any conversations with Dallas about Rondo," said one source. "That's ridiculous. There's no truth to it. What in the world does Dallas have to offer for Rondo?"
The second source pointed to the state of the Dallas roster.
"They're trying to rebuild around a 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki," he said. "They have a lot of old expiring contracts, and that's about it."
Ainge recently shipped Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce off to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade, dismantling the former Big Three that also consisted of current Miami Heat star Ray Allen. One of the major players Ainge landed in the deal with Brooklyn was All-Star small forward Gerald Wallace, a younger, fresher version of Pierce to immediately fill in at the 3.
The presence of Wallace, in addition to stalwart guard Avery Bradley, gives Boston a formidable perimeter presence along with swingman Jeff Green—assuming Rondo returns, of course.
Also set to return from injury is power forward Jared Sullinger, who will continue learning from Brandon Bass. And the offensive skills of rookie Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk should be a dream for Rondo to play alongside.
Combine the prospective roster outlook for 2013-14 with the three future first-round picks the Celtics acquired in the Nets trade, and the future looks extremely bright for the organization.
Again, though, Rondo is the beginning and the end of any success the Celtics can hope to have in the foreseeable future. The consequence of letting him go could result in years of misfortune for the franchise.
In today's NBA, an elite point guard is a hot commodity that teams should guard given the depth and star power at the position. If this news from Hoopsworld.com's Alex Kennedy is indeed true, the Celtics may not fully appreciate what they have in Rondo:
No disrespect to Mavericks rookie Shane Larkin, but it's not even a discussion as to who projects better over the next 10 years between him and the man he could possibly supplant in this trade. The versatility Rondo brings to the table as a passing phenom, sensational rebounder, smart player and tough defender is hard to match anywhere else.
Rondo also has the experience of winning an NBA title and 92 games of postseason experience overall. For a team that may endure growing pains initially, having that type of veteran as a centerpiece will be critical.
Oh, and for all that experience and skill, Rondo is only 27 years old. The half-court, methodical style the Celtics have been known for may be completely abandoned with this new look, but it's all about retaining the man who runs the show.
The Celtics can't afford to let Rondo slip through their grasp, because unless the team totally tanks in the immediate aftermath and lands tons of top draft picks, the long-term consequences will be dire.