BOSTON (CBS) – Rajon Rondo is set to make his return on Friday night, nearly one year after he went down with an ACL injury.
The Celtics could certainly use their star point guard, sitting at 14-26 on the season after snapping a nine-game losing streak on Wednesday. The expectations should be limited for Rondo early on, as he’ll only play 18-20 minutes (or five minutes per quarter — per Danny Ainge).
Rondo may be returning, but is he here for the long-run? Adam Jones, seeing the Celtics in full-on tank mode, doesn’t think so, but wonders when Rondo’s trade value will be at its highest.
“When you look at the deals the Celtics have made… it’s pretty clear what Ainge’s mindset is and what they’re doing — they’re tanking. These two trades over the last two weeks made that clear, so how does Rondo fit into the future plans?,” he wondered.
“You should get as much as you can for Rondo. The more I think about it the more I think you should hold on to him after the trade deadline. I think you can get the biggest windfall at the draft,” said Jones, using Philadelphia’s draft night trade with the Pelicans (sending point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans for sixth overall pick Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first round pick) as an example. “The Sixers swapped picks with New Orleans and got another first rounder, and Rondo is much better than Holiday.”
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“I look at that and ask what you can get for Rondo, especially if there’s a wink and a nod and he gets an extension wherever he goes,” he said.
But there is a problem with hanging on to Rondo this season: the Celtics will probably be too good to finish in the bottom five.
“If Rondo comes back with the pieces they have now, they’re not going to be a bottom five team. They might not be a bottom 10 team,” said Jones. “If you’re going to hold on to (Rondo) through the trade deadline, you have to deal the other pieces.”
“You have to deal Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, so that the surrounding cast around Rondo is so bad that it can’t be a one-man show,” said Jones. “It’ll be Rondo and Gerald Wallace and Joel Anthony running around the floor.”
Jones and Rich Keefe also discuss Rondo’s minute restriction, and Jones rips on Keith Bogans: