Rajon Rondo is one of the most talented players to have ever worn the Boston green, and could be developing into one of the greatest point guards of all time.
But the Celtics aren’t bringing home another championship banner anytime soon. In fact, it’s likely that in the 2013-2014 season, Boston will miss the postseason altogether after moving on from the “Big Three” era.
That era, defined by the unity of stars Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, ended when general manager Danny Ainge shipped Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. The core of the Celtics is gone, and the future of the franchise begins this year.
That future will never include Rajon Rondo. After a torn ACL sidelined him for the majority of last season, Rondo is expected to return for this year once he has fully recovered from the injury.
Rondo will be a free agent following the 2014-2015 season, where he’ll likely find a home amongst the powerhouses of the NBA in need of a point guard. These teams will almost certainly not include Boston, who finished the preseason with just two wins in eight games. Their roster is highlighted by names like Kris Humphries, Jeff Green, and Gerald Wallace. The Celtics lack the strength and size of their powerhouses in the past, and the only way to truly move forward is without the talented Rondo.
Of course, recovering from an ACL tear puts Rondo’s value at an absolute minimum heading into this season, which is why the team should wait until he’s healthy enough to prove he can play at an elite level.
Regardless of the package Boston receives for Rondo, they would likely become a worse team this season, an excellent strategy after landing future draft picks from the Brooklyn Nets in the Pierce and Garnett trade.
Top draft picks make and break franchises in the NBA, and while the lottery assures that tanking won’t guarantee a top pick, it may be in the best interest of the Celtics to spend the next couple of seasons in the basement if they want a faster ascent to the top of the league.