Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti should have traded Russell Westbrook for Rajon Rondo when he had the chance. Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge was willing to trade Rondo for Westbrook, but Presti declined.
Now, a lot of people would say why make a deal? The Thunder are 29-8 and the top seed in the West. But, they have some issues. They are 27th in the NBA with just 18.1 assists per game, and ball movement is key in basketball.
A lot is placed on Westbrook’s shoulders to initiate the offense as the point guard for OKC, but there’s one problem. He’s not a true point guard. His assists have declined the last few seasons. He averaged 8.2 assists per game in 2010-11, but just 5.5 this season. In addition, he is leading the league in turnovers at 4.3 per game.
Why do I think Presti should have done it? Quite simply, Rondo is a true PG who has great court vision and would help the Thunder. Ainge would do it because it gives the Celtics a player to rebuild around with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen possibly leaving this offseason as free agents. Rondo is a pass-first player who would have no problem taking a backseat to superstar Kevin Durant. He isn’t the scorer Westbrook is, but James Harden could start at shooting guard and make up the scoring difference. Harden is having a very good season and may never achieve his full potential with Westbrook on the Thunder.
Rondo is also a relentless defender and can rebound like Jason Kidd. He just had another triple double (15 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds) after hearing more rumors about Boston shopping him around the league like a Black Friday sale. On Sunday against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks, Rondo had 18 points, 20 assists and a career-high 17 rebounds in a Celtics overtime win.
Rondo won’t have a problem deferring to Durant, who has the ability to be a 35-point scorer. The game against the Magic on March 1 was an excellent example. He made 12 of 21 field goals (including all nine free throws) and finished with a game-high 38 points.
Durant might praise his teammate Westbrook, but it has to be eating him up inside. Twice in the last year they’ve had confrontations. It reminds me of the Kevin Garnett-Stephon Marbury dynamic when the two butted heads in Minnesota.
Darren Jacks is a contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sure that’s great for the OKC Thunder but where does it leave the boys in green? You and I know great offense starts from a good point guard (look how many good teams that can be great are missing that particular key this year), and with Garnett and Allen (Allen, who will never leave Boston IMHO) up in the air, we’re left with the Truth who’s performance is slowly declining into mediocrity. It would be a great space to rebuild but the tempo of both players match up well with the teams they are currently on. Rondo likes to watch and wait for the plays to be created in front of him while Westbrook creates the plays which matches the way OKC moves the ball.
I’m just glad Presti balked because Rondo is shaping up to be one hell of a PG. I’m just saying.
At first glance, this seems like an uneven trade and I’d strongly question messing with the success they’re enjoying in OKC.
But you make some great points about fit/need with the respective teams – and since both guys have some type of personal issues going on right now, it could actually make sense.
I’m excited to see what the Celtics look like after the deadline. Could be a whole new squad out there.
onefan, Boston would have a good PG to build around for the future once KG and Allen leave. It seems as if Ainge is fed up with Rondo and just wants him gone. Once, KG and Allen leave (all but guaranteed this summer)? The team will be taking on a new identity.
Thanks, Yoda. : )
Westbrook and Pierce would be a decent 1-2 punch to rebuild around on the fly.
Great article…Well thought out..Very good points..
As a Celtics fan I am glad this trade did’nt come off..
Ha. Thanks for your feedback, Rick.
Wow, wonderful article. This would be a great trade for both teams as well as both players.
The Thunder would have a quality, pass first point guard. Rondo’s ability to get to the rim at will, would open things up for Ibaka at the rim and would provide a multitude of kick-outs to Harden and Durant on the wings.
Westbrook would give the Celtics a young scoring guard to build around. The big three’s best days are behind them. So, Westbrook would be better suited to carry the scoring load as Paul, Ray and Kevin’s offense continues to deminish. Plus, Westbrook would be out of Durant’s shadow and would finally be able to be the man, once the Big 3 retires or moves on to greener (no pun intended) pastures.
Look forward to LTE coming to Charlotte, NC and DC area.
Great points ….westbrook will implode in the preasure of the playoffs…..
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Peter M. Arel
I’m sure that the C’s will unload Rondo but they won’t do it until the time is right for a trade that helps both teams.
IF RONDO DOES SOMETHING INCREDIBLY STUPID BETWEEN NOW AND THE TIME
HE IS TRADED OR LOST TO FREE AGENCY HE SHOULD BE LET GO!HE WILL
THEN HAVE BECOME A BIG LIABILITY TO THE BOSTON CELTICS!
Peter M. Arel
Trading should only take place if it benefits BOTH teams and is not one-sided in one team’s favor. THAT IS WHY I THINK RAJON RONDO WILL STAY IN BOSTON FOR SOME TIME;BUT IF RONDO PROVES TO BE A CANCER TO THE CELTICS THEC’S MAY UNLOAD HIM A LOT SOONER THAN THAT!