Rajon Rondo -- 1 year -- $12,909,091
No longer do we have the "Big Three" Boston Celtics ruling the East. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have all jumped ship. It may be Rajon Rondo's turn now. The team just drafted highly touted Marcus Smart to be their point guard of the future. The team also just re-signed guard Avery Bradley to a hefty four years, $32 million dollar contract.
Rondo has been a subject of trade rumors dating back to last season, but the team may finally look to part with its All-Star guard. Plenty of teams could quickly line up for Rondo. Undoubtedly the Mavericks would be one of them. But with the Celtics currently rebuilding, the Mavericks may struggle to create a package to fulfill their needs.
Scenario One and Only
Mavs get Rondo and Jeff Green or Gerald Wallace (~$21.3-22.2 million)
Celtics get Brandan Wright, Gal Mekel, Ricky Ledo, and Jae Crowder, 1-3 first round draft picks, and possibly Raymond Felton (~$7.3-$11.3 million)
This is where the Mavs cap room will come in handy. Rondo, Green, and Wallace are the Celtics highest paid players. By taking on either Green or Wallace, the Mavericks may be able to make a play for Rondo. If Felton is included in this trade -- he may have to be for the salaries to work out -- he'll have to be packaged in a separate deal due to NBA rules not allowing new players acquired via trade to be packaged with other players before a set amount of days.
The trade would break down as Rondo for Wright, Mekel, Ledo and Crowder; then Green/Wallace for Felton.
The Mavs could take on both contracts by throwing in either Tyson Chandler or Monta Ellis, but we know that isn't happening.
Why would the Celtics do this? They land the Mavs best youth, which isn't saying much. Though, Wright, Crowder, and possibly even Ledo could find themselves in the Celtics' rotation this season. Also, they'll clear plenty of cap room for this and the following season, while also nabbing a sizable trade exception. Both offer them the ability to bring in more talent. Finally and possibly more importantly, they'll open up playing time for their young guns Smart, Bradley and James Young.
Why would the Mavs do this? This trade would probably occur if they strike out on a point guard and big time small forward, which would result in them having the necessary cap room to pull this trade off. First, they acquire an All-NBA caliber point guard. I'd assume they'd prefer Green in this deal over Wallace. And if it is Green, they'd most likely land their new starting small forward. If it's Wallace, I don't know what to tell you. The idea of Rondo, Monta Ellis and Wallace starting on the perimeter will bring plenty of spacing issues for the team, but this deal would suggest that Rondo is worth this dilemma.
The hard part won't be prying Rondo away from Boston, as it seems the Celtics are ready to move on; it will be prying him away from other bidders. The Mavs "assets" aren't exactly assets. The draft pick(s) would most likely be a late first rounder (protection or not) and the younger players might not even be part of Boston's future. Other teams could and most probably would offer more valuable assets.
The Mavs biggest appeal is their ability to take on an unappealing player/contract, as they did in the Chandler trade. Yet, other teams may be able to offer that same cap relief.
It remains to be seen how serious other teams are about acquiring Rondo. Twenty-eight years old and coming off ACL surgery, teams may be frightened his best years are behind him. Also, with one year left on his deal and no guarantee he'd extend, the risk of trading away assets for one season of Rondo could turn teams away.
If teams are lining up for Rondo, the Mavs chances of landing the guard greatly diminish. A quiet market would greatly work in their favor.