PLUS/MINUS: Is Kevin Love worth it if it means giving up Rajon Rondo?
PLUS/MINUS is a weekly column that asks five hypothetical questions about the state of the Boston Celtics. PLUS means you agree, MINUS means you don’t. These questions deal with beyond the boxscore factors and dig deep to find the true value these athletes bring to Boston.
This week Padraic O’Connor and Eric Blaisdell discuss hypothetical trades of Rajon Rondo, if Kris Humphries & Gerald Wallace will remain in green jerseys, and if Jeff Green has earned his place this season.
QUESTION 1: When it's all said and done this season, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace will still be on the Celtics, while Bradley, Rondo, and Bass will not. PADRAIC O’CONNOR MINUS. Unless Kevin Durant or LeBron James is being offered to Boston, Rajon Rondo is not going anywhere. Simply put, Rajon Rondo is too valuable to the Celtics present and future to trade. There is a reason why he survived the great restructuring of 2013 and it is because he is the foundation that the Celtics are building around. ERIC BLAISDELL MINUS. I would have gone with plus for this one had Rondo not been included. Hopefully Humphries sticks around on a cheaper deal, Wallace isn't going anywhere, Bass seems like a nice trade chip and Boston may draft Bradley's replacement instead of paying him. It also looks like the team is going to build with Rondo rather than shipping him out. This speeds up Boston's rebuilding timeline, given Rondo's age, and its not to say if, say, Miami called looking to unload a certain small forward that Boston would never make a deal, but the Celtics have one star and are looking to add to him, not swap him for another star.
QUESTION 2: Trading Rajon Rondo to the Lakers in a deal including their first round pick is 100% worth it and should be explored. PADRAIC O’CONNOR MINUS. As of this posting, the Celtics have an 8.8% chance of getting the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Lakers changes are 5.5%. While a second draft pick in this stacked draft class would be nice, it’s not trade-away-the-all-star nice. The Lakers lack the additional assets it would take to sway Danny Ainge, so no; no purple and gold for Rondo next season. ERIC BLAISDELL MINUS. This deal really only benefits the Lakers as they try to squeeze out every last drop of Kobe Bryant's career. Wherever the pick falls, odds are it's outside the top three and while it would be for a really good prospect, you'd be trading away a known quantity for an unknown. That's fine when the unknown is a Kevin Durant-type player, but not so much when it could be Julius Randle. The only scenario where Boston should consider this deal if it's for the No. 1 overall pick. In which case, the Lakers aren't trading it.
QUESTION 3: Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, and Chris Johnson will be traded, released, or included in trades this summer. PADRAIC O’CONNOR PLUS. The Celtics will be active during free agency this summer and both Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson have shown that they can contribute. Either player could and would most likely be included in any trades if needed. Chris Babb was the feel good signing of the mid-season, but I doubt that will translate into a full time stint on the team. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Red Claws standout, but I doubt he’ll be back for another stint with the team. ERIC BLAISDELL MINUS. Sensing a trend here. Babb is the most likely of that trio to end up in a different jersey this summer, but Pressey and Johnson have real value to this team. Pressey has shown he can be a serviceable backup point guard who could use more seasoning and Johnson just always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Of course anyone could be traded at any time, but expect Pressey and Johnson to be a big part of this team's bench next year. Just because they signed team-friendly contracts, doesn't mean the team doesn't see a future with them.
QUESTION 4: Despite a less than superstar season, Jeff Green has earned a spot on this team, the respect of the organization, and is a cornerstone of the team through at least the rest of his contract. PADRAIC O’CONNOR PLUS(ish). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jeff Green’s biggest knock is that he’s not Paul Pierce. He’s not the franchise player; Rajon Rondo is. He’s not pitbull; Avery Bradley is. He’s not the tough-as-nails competitor; Jared Sullinger is. Jeff Green is the guy you have to watch out for; he’s the x-factor. The problem is that the Celtics need another threat on the court in order for Jeff Green to be effective. Acquiring that player is what this off-season is about. Uncle Jeff has earned a spot on this team… the “ish” is because I doubt he’ll be here next season. He’s a great player, which means he could very easily be part of a deal that helps to bring another great player to Boston. Green is the biggest trade chip the Celtics have, so there is a good chance he gets dealt, even though he’s earned his spot on this team. ERIC BLAISDELL MINUS. Jeff Green and cornerstone shouldn't be in the same sentence. He's paid too much and shows up too little. Ask yourself, Green or an additional $9 million in cap space, which would you rather have? There are plenty of nice wings in the upcoming draft and pretty much any of them projected to go in the first round would be an upgrade over Green, both in terms of future returns and salary. Before the season started, I said this was the year Green proves what kind of player he is and the results aren't pretty. For every breakout 30 point performance by Green, there is also a handful of poor shooting, single digit scoring nights. If Green can accept a role off the bench then sure, he can stick around, but that won't make him any cheaper.
QUESTION 5: The Celtics should do everything possible to get Kevin Love, even if that means losing Sullinger and Rondo in the process. PADRAIC O’CONNOR MINUS. Getting Love at the expense of Rajon Rondo is a moot point. You want to get Love to PAIR with Rondo if at all possible. Many people have compared Sullinger to Love and even Love himself has expressed his admiration for the Celtics sophomore. To give either/both of these guys up to bring Kevin Love to Boston is asking alot... although I'd be willing to consider Sullinger depending on what the rest of the trade looked like. ERIC BLAISDELL MINUS. Five for five with the down votes. Boston should do everything possible to get Love, except trade Rondo. Love is one of the best players in the league, but the team would be swapping one star for another and as previously stated, you want to build around stars instead of switching them around. Swapping Rondo for Love doesn't move the rebuild forward, just sideways. Trading Sullinger seems like a no-brainer in a Love deal as he would make Sullinger redundant and Minnesota would need a replacement for Love.