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Players Don’t Want Rajon Rondo As A Teammate?

Lost in the shuffle of the offseason’s superstar movement and the potential of it has been Rajon Rondo. Though his place with the Boston Celtics has been tenuous since before last season and his contract expires at the end of 2014-2015, Rondo has mostly been on the rumor sidelines this summer. Yesterday in a Twitter exchange with SBNation’s CelticsBlog, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman offered revelatory insight as to why Boston’s mercurial point guard is stuck in limbo with the Celtics.

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It’s no secret that the Celtics are exploring Rondo trades – they’d not only be naive to fail to consider every path to success in their state of rebuilding, but such rumors ran rampant at this time last year after Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce officially parted ways with Boston. Rondo’s trade value is open to interpretation. He’s a fabulous two-way talent and proven winner, but has well-known offensive limitations that make him a difficult fit in some systems and is notoriously hard-headed. He was hardly the All-Star caliber player last season that we’ve come to know after returning from injury, too.

According to Goodman, though, Danny Ainge’s inability to find a workable Rondo trade has more to do with lockerroom concerns than basketball ones.

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Many assumed that Rondo’s time with the Celtics was all but officially numbered when they drafted Marcus Smart, a younger player with similar strengths and weaknesses. That Boston re-signed Avery Bradley to a lucrative contract supports that idea, too – it’s hard to believe that Brad Stephens aims to continue forward with a backcourt triumvirate so obviously cut from the same initial cloth.

Goodman obviously believes that players’ distaste for Rondo as a potential teammate and Smart’s arrival in Boston makes it more likely Ainge finally bites the bullet and trades the last remaining member of the 2008 championship team. That seems the most prudent plan. Rondo’s timeline simply doesn’t mesh with Boston’s, his presence certainly won’t accelerate Smart’s development, and the Celtics would be best served to sell high when the league has more than fleeting memories of his brilliance in the 2012 playoffs.

Of course, that all changes if Boston finds a way to acquire Kevin Love. Rondo was a central figure in the team’s preemptive pitch to Love earlier this summer, and the chance that the Minnesota Timberwolves superstar might be the rare player who wants Rondo as a teammate makes them an especially intriguing pair. With potential offers from the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers trumping theirs, though, the Celtics’ dreams of adding Love seem like nothing more than that.

Rondo has been on borrowed time in Boston for almost a year. His departure simply seems a matter of finding the right trade partner. And though Goodman’s tweets make that proposition more difficult from a Celtics perspective than the surface indicates, they should be more motivated to move Rondo if his information is accurate, too.

There are more dominoes to fall before the summer finally ends, and Rondo might be the league’s biggest one.

Should the Celtics trade Rondo?

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