Trade whispers around the Boston Celtics have been quiet recently, but it took a single sentence to kick things up a bit on Monday. In a story headlined "Big names likely to stay put at NBA's trade deadline," Bulls.com's Sam Smith wrote, "The asking price if you can get Rondo is said to be two unprotected first-rounders."
And with that, the runaway locomotive that is trade deadline week is off and running, and it's surely not the last time these Celtics will find themselves in the whispers.
On the surface, there's not much to digest here. Essentially, it seems like the cover charge to get into Danny Ainge's trade conversation disco. If you'd like to inquire about the services of Rondo, be willing to part with two first-rounders and talks can build from there. If you're not willing to part with that, don't bother phoning.
As with all Rondo rumors, we'll remind you of the insanely high price tag the Celtics have for their point guard. The only time they've come close to moving him was coming out of the lockout in 2011 in a potential swap for Chris Paul.
As Rondo navigates his way back to form after missing a year following an ACL tear, it's been our belief that no team will even offer a package enticing enough for the Celtics to consider before Thursday's deadline. Add in a difficulty in giving Boston $12 million in worthwhile contracts (expiring deals or cheap young talent) to go along with those first-round picks and that's a mighty tough swap to navigate in the middle of the season.
The Celtics could give greater consideration to moving Rondo this summer if he is not open to a contract extension and the team is worried about the risk of losing him for nothing in unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015 (although, with the Celtics owning his rights and being able to pay him the most money, it would be difficult to envision a scenario where the team doesn't get something back in return for him even if he departed).
Bottom line on this rumor: Buckle up, it's trade deadline week.