Seven reasons why you shouldn't get too excited (or angry) about the Rondo/Howard trade

The Internet is abuzz with the recent talk of Boston and the Lakers talking about a possible Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard trade, but don’t get too worked up about it.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has since denied any talks and it's a safe bet Danny Ainge would do the same. But come on, general managers are about as honest as politicians.

While on the surface the deal makes some basketball sense, with the Lakers getting a great point guard for the future after missing out on Chris Paul and the Celtics getting one of the best big men in the league for a final championship push this season, this deal is a pipe dream at best.

The Money

Howard ($19.5M) makes way more this season than Rondo ($11M). That doesn’t mean the
deal can’t happen. It just makes it more complicated. The Celtics would have to at least include one the contracts of Jason Terry ($5M), Brandon Bass ($6M) or Courtney Lee ($5M) and a couple of the minimum deals (Chris Wilcox, Jason Collins or Leandro Barbosa) or a rookie (Fab Melo or Jared Sullinger). It’s safe to assume the Lakers wouldn’t take back Barbosa or Sullinger because taking on one guy who is out for the year is crazy enough.

If the deal were Rondo and Jeff Green ($8.385M) then it would work financially, but that is giving up way too much and would seriously deplete the Celtics bench.

The Mamba

Kobe Bryant has made some hints about retirement and if not this year then very possibly next season. This move would say the Lakers are officially done this year and if you thought you saw Bryant upset back in 2004-05 when they missed the playoffs, just wait if this deal goes down. Sure the Lakers are a mess right now and probably won’t make the playoffs anyway, but they still have a chance. No Howard, no chance.

Pau Gasol is out for a good chunk of the remainder of the season and even though Celtics fans would love it, Lakers management would take a serious PR hit for letting Bryant’s career end in such a pitiful way. Bryant has proven that he is still an elite player at age 34 and 16 years in the league. It’s not like he’s washed up and the Lakers can just move on.

Remember, there is no guarantee Rondo comes back for the start of next year (see Derrick Rose), so if he doesn’t, this move could hurt the Lakers coming out of the gate next season, too.

The Contract

Howard has said many times he wants to be a free agent at the end of this season. There is no way Danny Ainge should gamble and trade for Howard unless he agrees to an extension. The Lakers took that gamble and look how that’s worked out. Sure, he could be swayed by “the Celtics way” or by Doc Rivers, but if all the mystic of the Lakers wasn’t enough to sign up Howard, how could you assume Boston would have any better impact on his decision?

The Nash

Steve Nash is still under contract with the Lakers for the next two seasons. He’s owed around $19M total in those seasons. Could he retire after this year? Sure, but that’s a ton of money to walk away from. So what do the Lakers do with two great point guards? Nash is no Chauncey Billups. You can’t just shift Nash over to shooting guard because while he can shoot, he really needs the ball to produce.

Speaking of needing the ball, how would Rondo and Bryant on the same team work any different than Nash and Bryant? Nash has been relegated to a spectator with the Lakers because Bryant needs the ball or at least demands it. Bryant would have to adjust his game to be successful with Rondo and if he didn’t for Howard and Nash, thinking he would for Rondo just flies in the face of reality.


Trading a player who is hurt and is months away from coming back is not a good look for a franchise. Other players will certainly take notice and seriously think about not signing with Boston knowing if they get hurt, management will turn their back on them. Sure, Rondo’s been the talk of trade rumors for years, but shipping him out of town right after he just had surgery is just too low of a blow. Yes, basketball is a business, but Rondo, or any player for that matter, deserves better than that.

The Back

Howard is not 100 percent. He is still trying to return to form from offseason back surgery and is now battling a torn labrum. Back issues are serious (see Jared Sullinger) and there is no guarantee that Howard will ever be the player he was before. A crazy stat about Howard is how he only missed like seven games before this back issue, but all it takes is one chronic issue to derail all that durability.

The Smile

One of the most compelling reasons to stay away from Howard is because of what he is looking for in a team. He’s said he wants to be happy. He hasn’t said he wants to be on a winning team or team that works hard or plays defense or runs, but a happy team. Basketball should be fun, but to make that your first priority? It shows Howard still has plenty of growing up to do and the Celtics would do well to not take him on until winning the title is goal #1.

Follow Eric