With the pending return of Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo from injury (right anterior cruciate ligament) the trade front is abuzz with teams showing interest for the 4-time NBA All-Star.
One of those teams is the New York Knicks, who has completely disappointed this season although they do not have the trade pieces that may attract the Celtics front office.
However, that’s not stopping the Knicks brass in thinking they can actually one of the best point guards in the league.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who interviewed an unnamed league executive, New York is set to chase Rondo via free agency when his contract expires in 2015 and lure him away from their Atlantic division rivals.
“They're one confident bunch,” told the team official to Windhorst. ”To listen to them, they expect to have Carmelo re-signed and have another star with him in another year. They're so sure about it you'd think they already know what will happen."
Back in 2011, forward Carmelo Anthony, then with the Denver Nuggets, “demanded a trade” to the New York Knicks, who had to gut out their roster in exchange for the prized star. The Knicks gave up prospects Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mosgov among others in the deal that brought Melo to the Big Apple.
The current state in New York leaves them with little to no options with regards to acquiring another star as they are loaded with bad contracts and bad players. The Knicks do not even have their first round picks in the next few years and that could be the deal-breaker for the Celtics, who are in total rebuild mode.
However, if Rondo, like Melo in Denver, demands to be dealt, the Celtics may cave in as they have little leverage against a player who may bolt out when he becomes a free agent in two years time. Rather than lose him for nothing, they may want to get a slew of players—and future picks—to speed up their rebuilding process.
Also, Rondo is off the first major surgery of his career. If he comes back less than healthy, his value may be down and the timing would be crucial if they want at least equal worth in any Rondo exchange.
“It’s hard to gauge, it’s the first time I did anything full court. It just felt good being back out there.” Rondo told the Boston Globe. “I’ve had one practice and a pickup game, that’s about it. My endurance is key for me. I don’t want to come back and not be fully 100 percent as far as my health and me being in shape as well because the worst thing is me coming back and not being in shape and have another injury, so I want to make sure I’m in basketball condition.”
It’s not exactly the same situation as with Melo during the Denver days, but it appears that the Knicks are banking on the fact it is the player who initiates the talk with a simple trade demand and that this Big City will attract the eventual free agents even before their current contract expires.
If indeed Rondo demands a trade to New York, here is a trade possibility that could be the starting point for any Boston-New York deal before the trade deadline.
A. Stoudemire ($21.7M) + I. Shumpert ($1.7M) + T. Hardaway Jr. ($1.2M) + 2018 First Round Pick for R. Rondo ($11.9M) + G. Wallace ($10.1M)
Overall, the Celtics save about $7 million in this deal by unloading Wallace’s contract plus they can nice prospects in Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. to help their rebuild. The 2018 first-rounder will be vital for Boston down the road as they are not contending in the next 3-4 years anyway.
For the Knicks, it’s all-in or bust once again. With a healthy Rondo and Melo they could be back being East contenders late this year or next season.
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