Ridiculous Rondo to the Pacers for George Hill/Danny Granger rumor surfaces - why it's not happening
There's a part of me that feels silly even writing this. But, part of our duties here at CelticsLife is keeping people updated on trade rumors, and trying to separate the "this is possible" rumor, from the "this writer is a moron" rumor.
The trade rumors surrounding Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo hasn't subsided yet, but this time, the All-Star playmaker is being linked to a potential sting with the emerging Eastern Conference powerhouse Indiana Pacers, a source close to situation reported on Sunday.
There's no doubt that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has developed an animosity towards the Heat after engaging in several emotional games during the Big 3 Era.
Now, Ainge has a chance to spoil Heat's three-peat party by supplying his former teammate and friend Larry Bird, who happens to be the Pacers GM, the player who would complete their championship puzzle while the Celtics are trying to rebuild their franchise.
In the proposed trade, the Celtics will be sending Rondo to the Pacers in exchange for serviceable veteran Danny Granger, George Hill and a first-round pick in next year's loaded NBA Draft.
For the Celtics, they would get a solid scorer in Granger, a nice, young combo guard in Hill and a first-round pick in a very deep draft class this coming summer. On the other hand, the Pacers will finally have a pass-first point guard who can make them a more potent team with Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West and Lance Stephenson on the floor.
What the hell did I just read?
Ok, so to refresh, in this made up trade the Celtics would send Rondo to Indiana for Danny Granger, George Hilland the Pacers 2014 1st round pick.
Now let's talk about why it can't happen.
First of all, Hill and Granger make a combined $22 million this season, while Rondo makes only $12 million. This is a problem. The Celtics would need to add about $6 million in salary for this deal to work under the CBA, meaning that Indiana would either need to take Gerald Wallace, Brandon Bassor Kris Humphries. Or Keith Bogans + another small deal (maybe MarShon Brooks). The C's are also dangerously close to the luxury tax line and are unwilling to surpass it. Therefore we're really talking about Boston adding in $10 million in salary, meaning Wallace or Humphries needs to be involved in some way (or two of the Bass/Bogans/Courtney Lee trio). In other words, this deal is missing a major financial piece. Something Aguila should have possibly mentioned.
And then there's the whole "Pacers trade their 1st round pick in 2014" aspect of the deal, which would be cool if the Pacers still had their 2014 1st round pick. But they traded it for Luis Scola last summer (top 14 protected). So while Aguila references the Cs getting a 1st rounder in this year's "very deep draft" - that's impossible. The best Indy could do is remove their protection from the Suns pick (pretty low risk unless you think the Pacers can miss the playoffs this year), and then send their 2016 pick to Boston. How does Granger + Hill + a 2016 1st sound in exchange for Rondo? Which brings me to..
Why on Earth would the Celtics do this deal? Let's pretend for a moment that we live inside the made-up world of Lou Ramon Aguila. A world in which the NBA's CBA does not exist, and where the Pacers 1st round pick regenerates itself whenever it needs to. Let's say that this deal was actually offered and could happen - the Celtics would turn it down in an instant.
They get back the expiring deal of Granger, who's value as a player has basically declined to about zero (in the past two seasons Granger, now 30, has played in eight games and hit 15 of his 57 shots), Hill and what amounts to being the 27th-30th pick in the 2014 draft.
As we've said all along, if you're dealing Rondo you need to do three things: Shed salary, pick up young assets, and acquire draft picks. In this deal it's arguable that you don't do any of these.
You don't get major cap relief as you'd be subbing Rondo's $12 million deal for Hill's $8 million. You're not dumping Wallace, Lee or Bass - something that should be a requirement of any Rondo deal.
The only player of value you're getting back is the 27 year old Hill, a nice player (10.8 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.6 RPG) who is probably slightly overpaid at $8 million per season. Hill is the perfect role player on a team like Indiana, but he's not anything close to an All-Star level talent and he's not cheap. Also for those who worry that Rondo will be getting older by the time Boston is a contender again - Hill is a whopping three months younger. If Hill is the best player offered in any deal for Rondo, he needs to be accompanied by an upper lottery draft pick and that team needs to take Wallace.
And finally, even if the Pacers could deal their 1st rounder this year, it wouldn't be that valuable of a pick. Sure, it would be nice to add another late first in a deep draft. But is the 28th pick, even in a deep draft, all that valuable? It's more of a sweetener to any deal rather than the centerpiece. And in this deal, it would probably be the most valuable asset.
In closing I just want to talk about Lou Ramon Aguila for a moment. Last time with the Rondo rumor, I tried giving him the benefit of the doubt (maybe he had a bad source, took some bad mushrooms, ect.). But this time? Clearly this guy's job is just to make up ridiculous trade proposals and get page views. Which would be ok IF the deals actually worked under the NBA's rules and were well thought out. In this deal, Aguila has Ainge making a deal to "mess up the Heat's three-peat". Really..he said that. Danny Ainge is going to trade Rajon Rondo in Conference to Larry Bird because they're BFF's and he doesn't like the Heat. Who cares if the deal is impossible and also doesn't give Boston a single good asset in return?? Ainge is going to mess with Riley!
Then again, maybe I'm the sucker for reading his post on Christmas Eve and then writing 1,000 words on why it doesn't make sense.