Keeping an Eye on Rajon Rondo
While all of the focus this season is on guys like Evan Turner, Brett Brown, and Michael Carter-Williams, there’s a player lurking about that could have an impact on the Sixers’ future: Rajon Rondo.
Rondo, who is a four time All-Star, is slowly beginning the process of returning to the court for the Boston Celtics after tearing his ACL in January. He’s begun practicing in a limited capacity and has been allegedly cleared to return by team doctors. Now, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Rondo will choose when he’s comfortable with getting back to speed a la Derrick Rose. As a Sixers fan I can’t help but be fascinated.
Rondo is a star player. He’s averaged a double-double the last three years and plays exceptional defense (think of that Conference Finals game where he went the distance against the Heat). If he’s in the line-up then Boston is a much better team, which means more wins and less competition for the Sixers. Throw in the fact that they don’t play each other until Jan. 29th, a month after Rondo’s expected return, and this sounds like great news. Bring it on, right? Wrong.
If Rondo’s returns early and successfully enough to turn the tide in Boston he could very well be shipped out of town. It’s been reported in the past that Rondo and his bad attitude could be had for the right price. If he can make the Celtics into a fringe playoff (aka worthless) team he could be shipped out of town. That rejuvenates the tanking initiative and, like the Sixers, sets them up for a bright future with a young core to replace the three amigos.
The other concern here would be that the Knicks are interested in Rondo. If they swing a trade, then they’d have a long-term dynamic duo of Rondo and Carmelo Anthony in the Atlantic. That’s a tough pairing to compete against.
The best case scenario in all of this would be for Rondo to take his time and return in early February or later. The trade deadline is on February 20th so it would give sellers a limited amount of time to trust his health and give the Celtics the price they’re seeking (probably multiple firsts or some sort of package deal). That way the Celtics can’t deal Rondo for picks and still damage their chance for a top five pick. Sixers win.
So while most of the fussing will be over what goes on with Evan Turner, there’s a much better player in the similar situation up north. Keep an eye on Rajon Rondo.
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