Report: Pistons "quite interested" in Rondo, would like to give up Brandon Knight and expiring deals

Knight is only remembered for getting dunked on, but is actually a good young point guard
The rumors linking Rajon Rondo to the Detroit Pistons are not going anywhere. After all, Detroit as a destination makes as much sense as any for Rondo. They signed Rondo's good friend Josh Smith earlier this month, and have a young core seemingly ready to make an impact on the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

However, Detroit has one major issue when it comes to acquiring the Celtics point guard — they can't offer any first round picks. Last summer the Pistons sent Ben Gordon and a protected first round pick to Charlotte in exchange for Corey Maggette, meaning that Detroit cannot trade a first round pick to Boston, or anyone else, until that obligation is fulfilled.

That obviously lessens the strength of any potential offers that the Pistons can make, but it doesn't mean they're not still trying to make it work. From the Boston Globe.

The Pistons are quite interested in Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, but they don’t have a package to offer that would attract president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to making a deal. The Celtics would presumably ask for emerging center Andre Drummond, who is as close to untouchable as a younger player can get. Detroit would like to send the Celtics Brandon Knight and an expiring contract, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough.

So Detroit would part with Knight, a 21 year old point guard coming off of a solid 2nd NBA season (13.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3 RPG) plus expiring deals (likely Charlie Villanueva or Rodney Stuckey) in exchange for Rondo.

While Knight is a decent young player, he alone is not enough to make a deal worth it for Rondo. That means if Detroit really wants #9, they're going to have to give up Greg Monroe. Andre Drummond is seemingly untouchable as Washburn says, but Monroe, who hits unrestricted free agency next summer, may not be. He is still only 23 years old and averaged 16 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 3.5 APG last season for Detroit.

The questions then become, is Monroe + expiring deals worth it to the Celtics? And will the Pistons part with one half of a potential "twin towers" front court in exchange for Rondo?

To answer the first part, I think the Celtics would have to think about it a lot as Monroe is exactly the type of player they should be targeting. Young, talented, and because of his restricted free agent status, the Celtics control his rights through his next contract (whatever offers he gets next year, Boston can match and retain him).

As for the 2nd part, I actually think Detroit may be hesitant to make this deal at this juncture. It's not that Rondo isn't better than Knight — he is. But Knight is at the very least a solid, young PG who could still become something more. If they deal Monroe, who replaces his 16/10/4 every night going forward in a barren big man market? Samuel Dalembert? I don't think so.

Of course, trying to get inside the mind of Danny Ainge or Joe Dumars is not exactly a healthy exercise. So we wait. But if Detroit and Boston do end up having serious talks, look for Monroe to be involved. It's the only way this deal gets done.

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Detroit Pistons interested in Rajon Rondo