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Could the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder Swap Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo This Summer?

May 1st, 2014 at 7:42 AM
By Sean Melia

'Russell Westbrook' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license:

It's been a slow hard few weeks without any Boston Celtics basketball to watch. The playoffs have been highly entertaining, but without the Celtics playing it just is not the same. 

The challenge is finding things to continue to write about, so we'll continue to write about possible players Danny Ainge could acquire via trade this summer. We talked about Omer Asik on the floundering Houston Rockets. An early exit from the playoffs could ignite a firesale down in Houston.

We talked about Dion Waiters and his two years of negativity in Cleveland playing along side Kyrie Irving.

Now, we want to discuss a much bigger name in the game of basketball. No, not Kevin Love, instead we think it's worth exploring what could happen in Oklahoma City if they don't rally from 3-2 down against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The first fall guy could be Scotty Brooks. The young coach has slowly wasted some of the best talent in the league. Injuries and a bad James Harden trade didn't help matters, but Brooks' late game offensive strategy (read: Kevin Durant and then some more Kevin Durant) has proven unsuccessful and unimaginative. 

Erik Spoelstra was cursed with the same problem of too much talent, but he made adjusts and in many ways shaped the way basketball is played in the NBA right now. 

That takes us to Russell Westbrook. The mercurial point guard who has already come up in trade rumors in the past, even involving the Boston Celtics. Could the Boston Celtics take a hard look at Russell Westbrook as a new point guard to replace Rajon Rondo. Rondo would have to be a part of the trade, along with a draft pick most likely (unless Rondo signed an extension prior to the trade). 

Rajon Rondo could help Kevin Durant a lot down the stretch. Sure Rondo's inability to stretch the defense with his shooting could make Durant easier to guard in some situations, but Rondo is a more willing passer. He's more willing to have the ball in his hands at the end of games, and he's more willing to facilitate an offense. Many times Westbrook just hangs out in the corner or he's the primary ball handler. There doesn't seem to be an in between with Westbrook.

The other selling point on Rondo to the Thunder is it would give the Thunder another championship winner on their roster. Derek Fisher and Kendrik Perkins have both won rings. Fisher could be on his way out after this year considering his age. 

Rondo's contract is much more salary cap friendly than Westbrook's (for now). Westbrook has three years left on a five-year $80 deal. Rondo's contract runs out at the end of this year, and he's only making $10 this season. 

Westbrook in Boston would also be an interesting dynamic. They could immediately get a scoring threat, taking the load off of Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. While a lot is said about Rondo's pace and quickness, he has not really been a point guard that pushes the pace over long stretches of games. A line-up of Westbrook, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, and a mystery center would be interesting.

The draft pick the Celtics get could greatly alter how Danny Ainge moves forward this summer and what he places at the top of his list as far as players to attain through trades prior to the draft or on draft night. 

Free agency will have to be the place the Celtics find some role players, but trades and the draft is where the Celtics will have to find the players that can get them back into the playoffs next year so we don't have to write about trades in May but instead we can write about games.


Tags: Avery Bradley, Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Dion Waiters, Houston Rockets, Kevin Durant, NBA, point guard, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Scotty Brooks

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