Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been the subject of trade rumors. One of the teams reportedly vying for his services is the Dallas Mavericks.
Could Rajon Rondo be on his way to the Dallas Mavericks?
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According to a league source who told The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn on Dec. 18, the Mavericks are seriously trying to acquire Rondo via a trade. For his part, Rondo wants to remain in Boston. He said,"How many times you want me to say it? We discussed it on media day [in September]. My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization hasn't changed."
Washburn cites Rondo's superior playmaking skills as the reason why the Mavericks are trying to lure him away from Boston. Their current starter at point guard, Jameer Nelson, has been shooting just 38.4 percent and averaging 4.3 assists. Rondo, who would be a good fit in the Mavericks' system, has been dishing out 10.6 assists per contest.
Washburn reports the Mavericks -- who are currently sixth in the Western Conference with a 19-8 record -- are ready to dangle an offer the Celtics' way in exchange for Rondo. Dallas realizes it could make more inroads with a veteran playmaking point guard directing its No. 1-ranked offense (109.8 points per game).
For their part, the Celtics are looking beyond expiring contracts in exchange, per Washburn. In addtion to these, they would like first-round draft picks and players with a good potential to be thrown in. Dallas players Brendan Wright and Jae Crowder could potentially be part of a Rondo deal.
ESPN's Marc Stein also reported on the possible Rondo trade to Dallas. He mentions Wright as one of those players included in the package.
While the Mavericks are Rondo's most ardent suitors, Washburn says the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings are also interested. In addition, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are said to be zeroing in on Rondo as well, per Stein.
The ESPN report mentions Lakers superstar guard Kobe Bryant photographed while having breakfast with Rondo when the former was in town for a road game on Dec. 5. A source tells Stein the meeting wasn't just purely social as the Lakers already had their sights on acquiring Rondo even during that time.
The issue Boston is trying to deal with is Rondo's asking price if he decides to re-sign with the team. Rondo, a 28-year-old veteran whose contract is expiring after the 2014-15 NBA season, is eyeing a maximum five-year deal worth around $107 million. Among his issues are the health of his knees (he is coming off major knee surgery) and offense, per The Boston Globe update.
Celtics president Danny Ainge told The Boston Globe's Sebastian Lena on Thursday that there are trade talks, but did not directly specify if Rondo is involved:
"I wouldn't say it's any different from any other year. Around Dec. 15, there are a lot of rumors because conversations are happening. This is a hot rumor time, and there is a hot rumor time in the middle of February. But from mid-December to February there is a lot of discussion with most teams."
Ainge also told Lena he doesn't really know how Boston's point guard situaton will play out without Rondo. He also added it is made murkier by the fact that rookie Marcus Smart "hasn't been healthy."
While Rondo has insisted he prefers to stay with the Celtics, Stein says he "has left little doubt in recent months that he intends to test the market as a free agent in July as opposed to signing an extension with the Celtics."
On the side of the Mavericks, Stein stresses they could be on the short end of the deal if Rondo just plays out the remainder of his 2014-15 contract and tests the market during the offseason. That could be a possible scenario if Rondo can't agree on a new long-term extension with Dallas.
Update: The Celtics agreed in principle to trade Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks for Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and two future draft picks on Dec. 18, per Stein:
Rondo has averaged 11.0 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 527 career regular-season games with the Boston Celtics, per ESPN stats.
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