It was always expected that Boston Celtic's GM Danny Ainge would ask for a king's ransom to part with star point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Detroit Pistons have long been interested in Rondo and after the team signed Josh Smith to a big-money deal in the offseason it was only natural to speculate that Detroit would try and trade for Rondo using incumbent big man Greg Monroe.
But it was also a fact that Rondo was going to be injured for a large portion of the 2013-14 season, has struggled since returning, is about to turn 28 years old and only has one year left on his deal after this season. But these latter facts haven't stopped Ainge from asking for that ransom, and various media reports indicate that the price is indeed steep -- too steep, in fact for the Pistons to seriously entertain.
NBA Trade Rumors
Bynum for Bayless, anyone?
Former Pistons and current Celtics beat reporter thinks Danny Ainge might give Detroit Jerryd Bayless' expiring contract for Will Bynum. Would you do the deal?
NBA Trade Rumors
According to longtime Chicago-based reporter Sam Smith, the asking price for Rondo is two unprotected first-round picks that are presumed to be in lottery territory. This was later confirmed by Grantland's Zach Lowe (not one to mindlessly stir the trade-chatter pot). But even more astounding, Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely says the price is not only the two picks but ALSO a "at least one young, up-and-coming, borderline All-Star caliber talent in return."
And lest anyone think that this is just the crazy high offer before both sides compromise consider that there are legitimate reports that the Sacramento Kings offered the Celtics Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and two first-round picks for Rondo. The story indicates that the talks fizzled when Rondo indicated that he wasn't interested in signing long-term in Sactown.
Stop and think about what that means for Detroit specifically. It would mean trading Greg Monroe (young, up-and-coming, borderline All-Star caliber talent), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and at least one unprotected first-round pick and maybe two. I suppose if the team was lucky it could unload the Brandon Jennings deal as well.
All so that Rondo could play on a talent-depleted team with Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and ... not much else NBA-caliber talent. The team would still have a giant hole at small forward and absolutely no long-range offensive threats. In fact, the team would have no real offensive threats at all. It would be way too easy to key in on Smith and Rondo as the team's only source of points.
The most charitable interpretation of the deal is that Detroit would probably bottom out for the rest of the 2013-14 season and keep the draft pick owed to Charlotte. Assuming that Detroit is able to unload the Jennings contract in the deal and Chauncey Billups retires, Detroit would have $23 million in salary cap space to address glaring holes at shooting guard, small forward, and no bench to speak of. So there's that, I guess.
And if they don't sign the right mix of talent (they don't exactly have the best track record on that front) then Rondo will simply walk away from Detroit after next season and Detroit will have given up just about every avenue to get better.
But back in reality, it means that Detroit should quickly walk away from any Rajon Rondo discussion. I don't see Detroit or any team giving up that kind of return for Rondo.