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Earlier this summer I did a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the NBA, ranking all 30 teams after a summer of moves. I put the Celtics 22nd, 9th in the East, expecting them (if they avoid a major move) to finish right around 30 wins this season.

However, Marc Stein of ESPN disagrees pretty strongly, instead putting the Cs among the very worst teams in then NBA.

In his season opening power rankings, Stein puts the Celts 27th, ahead of only the lowly Bobcats, Suns and 76ers. Not only that, but here's what he had to say about the team.

They have to trade Rajon Rondo. You know it, I know it, everyone in basketball knows it. In the interim, though, hats off to Danny Ainge. By hiring Brad Stevens, he's found a way to keep the Celts riveting for the Boston diehards while he's in the midst of all these tricky rebuilding transactions.

Care to expand on that Marc?

Don't get me wrong, Ainge should be listening on offers from every person on this roster. That's what smart teams do, especially while rebuilding. But they "have to" trade him? Why?

Rajon Rondo is a top 20 player in basketball. In the playoffs, he's probably closer to a top 5-10 guy. Yes, he has his warts. He's immature at times and we do not know how he'll embrace leading this team. But I hope that Stein is incorrect and that Ainge is not approaching this season with a "trade Rondo at all costs" mentality. Because that would be insanity.

You do not simply decide to trade your best player for just anything. You make another team blow you out of the water if they're going to pry him from your hands.

I look at what the Jazz got for Deron Williams (Derrick Favors who was the 3rd overall pick the previous season + a guaranteed lottery pick in 2011 + a future 1st), and use that as the baseline for Rondo. If someone makes that kind of godfather offer, you consider.

But considering Rondo's injury, that kind of offer isn't coming right now. So let him come back in December and let's see how he does in this new role. The one thing the Celtics have is time. Time to gather assets, time to make decisions and time to rebuild the franchise. Rushing into a trade of Rondo makes no sense. You know it, I know it, everyone in basketball knows it (besides Marc Stein).

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13

Michael Dyer 9/27/2013 01:59:00 PM Edit
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