Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will be a free agent next summer, but the Celtics wanted to see how much better he’s gotten since ACL surgery, and trading him before he possibly leaves in free agency isn’t a priority. Except, new revelations from the estimable Jackie MacMullan indicate Rondo wants out, as he’s told GM Danny Ainge and the C’s brass despite the public facade.
In an “Around the Horn” behind-the-scenes segment published to their YouTube on Wednesday, but not picked up on until MassLive.com’s Jay King wrote about it this morning, MacMullan said Rondo has made it clear he’s gone in free agency next summer, and he’s told the Celtics he wants out. From King’s transcription:
During a behind-the-scenes clip of ESPN’s Around the Horn, which the show posted Wednesday on YouTube, the great Jackie MacMullan suggested Rondo has already made it clear he will not stay after his contract expires next summer…
When Frank Isola (NYDN) raised the topic of trading Rondo, MacMullan replied, “Oh, I hope so. Just get it done. And it will happen because he’s told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that’s the truth.”
That wasn’t all MacMullan said about Rondo. When the Clippers were mentioned as a possible landing spot for Rondo, she said of former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, “Rondo drives him nuts.”
MacMullan didn’t stop there. During some discussion about the trade market for Rondo…Isola mentioned the Los Angeles Clippers and their head coach, Doc Rivers.
“He doesn’t like Rondo, remember that,” MacMullan said. “I mean, he’s done with Rondo. They went a good, long way together, but that guy — Rondo drives him nuts. And then (the Clippers have) Chris Paul anyway, they don’t need him.”
Doc and Rondo were supposedly still OK, but — as mentioned by King — Doc did say to the Boston Globe after taking the head coaching job with the Clippers last summer, “In the big picture, my overall relationship with him is very good, but I will say you don’t know which Rajon Rondo you’re going to get from day to day.”
The problem for Boston is getting full return if they do move him this summer. The Knicks could use him, but they can’t offer much. The Lakers could take a flyer on him with creaky Steve Nash playing his final year in the Association, but there’s no guarantee Rondo would re-sign next summer, and he isn’t exactly an LA guy.
A lot of teams already have a solid point guard, and those teams that don’t, like the aforementioned Knicks, aren’t in a position to offer Boston enough to part with their former all-star. Houston was reportedly looking to get into the Rondo sweepstakes, with Patrick Beverley as their point guard after trading Jeremy Lin, but what do they really have to offer? Same with Dallas, who King mentions as a possible suitor.
The Kings have shown interest, but — according to MacMullan — Rondo has already told them he’s not going to re-sign with them next summer.
This could be a case where Rondo starts the season with Boston, and Ainge waits until a contending team desperately needs an upgrade at point guard, at which point he can make a move before the February deadline next season. It’s either that, or lose him for nothing next summer.
The Celtics are rebuilding and to have an unhappy point guard — who is supposed to be a leader — in the locker-room is a cancer coach Brad Stevens and Ainge would rather avoid. Still, Rondo possesses such a weird skill-set, and he’s coming off ACL surgery, so teams are more reluctant to offer a lot in return for what could be just a year of his services.
The same issues came up when Kevin Love told the Timberwolves he wasn’t going to re-sign next summer; except, Love’s skill-set is a lot more laudatory than Rondo’s and he just came off a season where he was Second Team ALL-NBA rather than recovering from major knee surgery.
Where does Rondo end up?
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