The Boston Celtics are in full rebuild mode after trading away stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Piece. Speculation has run rampant that Rajon Rondo is the next big piece to go.
Would the Detroit Pistons be interested in trading for the talented point guard? And if they are just how much would they be willing to give up to get him?
The Pistons have a definite need at point guard heading into next season. One of the reasons so many were surprised when Detroit drafted shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was because in doing so the Pistons passed on a trio of highly touted point guards including hometown hero Trey Burke.
The Pistons instead filled a different hole on their roster -- adding defense and 3-point shooting with KCP, and high-risk, high-reward power forward Tony Mitchell and light-shooting defensive pest Peyton Siva in the second round.
That means the Pistons have a big hole at the point guard position. Currently, the only legitimate point guard on the roster is Siva who isn't guaranteed to make the team to go with Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight who at one point in the recent past were given the reins of the offense and lost them due to ineffectiveness.
Jose Calderon performed wonderfully in Detroit after being traded from Toronto, but he is a free agent and might not return to Motown.
And that's where Rondo comes in.
While temperamental, the guard is a good on-ball defender, especially when committed, is a wonderful distributor and has even improved his jump shot in recent years.
And president of basketball operations Joe Dumars is under no illusions that having Knight and Siva are good enough point guard options.
Dumars said that not drafting a true point guard was not so much a comment on Knight's ability in that spot as it was a comment on the desperate need for more length and athleticism.
"More so than an endorsement, it's really [that] we needed to ... start getting wing athletes with the Pistons," Dumars said. "The hardest teams for us to match up against the past couple years - athletic teams that get out and play ... We struggled with those teams, and it was time to address that."
Even after adding Caldwell and former Louisville guard Peyton Siva, Dumars said there could be more changes coming on the perimeter.
"We're going to continue to try to address the wing positions, the one, two and three," Dumars said. "We will not be off-limits on any of those positions. In free agency and trade if we can upgrade in those positions, we will. We definitely will."
"We're not done," Dumars added. "I'll just say that - we're not done. Last night was a small step in what we're trying to do."
And ever since Detroit traded a No. 1 pick to get out from under Ben Gordon's contract, Pistons beat writers have been adamant that Dumars was more interested in using his $20 million in cap room in order to take back salary as teams looked to avoid the luxury tax.
Well, trading for Rondo fits Dumars' plan nearly to a T. Rondo is an established star on a good contract. He could be an amazing pick-and-roll partner for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe and could join with KCP to turn Detroit's perimeter defense from its biggest weakness to one of its biggest strengths.
But getting Rondo isn't going to come cheap. And it might take a lot of that cap space that Dumars worked so hard to create.
Because getting Rondo would require the Pistons to take back multiple bad contracts from the Celtics starting with the recently acquired deal of Gerald Wallace. Other possibilities include Courtney Lee an Brandon Bass.
If Detroit sent the expiring deals of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva along with Brandon Knight in exchange for Rondo, Wallace and Lee, who says no? You haven't given Boston much additional talent other than the hopes that Knight might turn into something useful. On the other hand, you have relieved the Celtics of $62 million in future salary obligations and have them poised to have ample cap space going forward.
If the trade was agreed to, the Pistons would be set at point guard for at least the next two seasons, and while Wallace is a shell of his former self, he would be an upgrade at small forward from Kyle Singler and Khris Middleton. Lee, meanwhile, is a good defender and career 38-percent 3-point shooter and is a serviceable backup.
The Pistons would have sent out approximately $19 million in salary and taken back $27 million. That would leave approximately $12 million of free cap space to upgrade the team. They could be forced to take on Brandon Bass as well ($6 million per for the next two years), or the Pistons could try and upgrade at backup point guard (Jarrett Jack perhaps?).
The Pistons depth chart would then be:
PG -- Rondo/FA(Jack?)/Siva
SG -- KCP/Lee/English
SF -- Wallace/Middleton/Singler
PF -- Monroe/Jerebko/Mitchell
C -- Drummond/Monroe/Kravtsov
This is obviously a team miles better than Pistons teams of the past five years. But with extensions coming to Monroe and Drummond soon the team would also be pretty locked in with little financial wiggle room.
It is certainly a playoff team but is it a championship team? Could it battle with the likes of Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn and New York to get out of the East?
More importantly would the Celtics even entertain the offer?