Rumors floated about on Friday that the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics could be trading partners for point guard Rajon Rondo, though neither team nor their respective beat writers have issued any insight into a potential deal.
Regardless, such a trade would shake up the Eastern Conference in a similar fashion to the Brooklyn Nets' acquisition of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. For the Knicks, acquiring Rondo would be the perfect way to answer their crosstown rivals.
Because nothing is backed up by any reputable sources just yet, it's hard to really get into much depth regarding a possible trade. It is helpful to look into the possible implications and players that could be involved, though.
First off, any deal for Rondo would more than likely have to include Iman Shumpert. Shumpert is the team's best trade chip and would entice the Celtics because of his perimeter defense and potential to improve in all aspects of the game. Steve Novak and his $11 million salary (over the next three seasons) could also be involved, while Raymond Felton could also be sent to Boston to replace Rondo.
Future picks could also be sent to Boston, as could cash considerations for the upcoming offseason. The Knicks just barely clear the luxury tax threshold, but shedding the contract of Novak (and possibly the contract of Felton) would be more than enough to fit Rondo into the team's payroll.
Carmelo Anthony has been vying for a second scorer to play alongside of, but Rondo would be an even better acquisition. General manager Glen Grunwald could make his superstar very happy by bringing Rondo in, as Anthony could be set up with even more opportunities to score than he had before.
Rondo is one of the best point guards in the league and has averaged 12.1 points and 9.1 assists per game over the course of his seven-year NBA career. He's also incredible defensively, averaging 2.1 steals per game.
Losing Shumpert and Novak would be tough, but replacing them with Rondo would be exciting for Knicks fans. Rondo could turn Anthony into an even more dangerous player on offense, as his passing skills are amongst the best in the league. Anthony does like to control the ball in isolation situations, but Rondo's presence could change that and make for a more fluid offense.
Acquiring Rondo would leave the team with a few holes, however. With both Shumpert and Novak gone, the Knicks would be without a clear-cut small forward heading into the season. Given J.R. Smith's and Pablo Prigioni's free agency, they could also be without a shooting guard.
Tim Hardaway, Jr., the newest Knick could see time at either position, but it's difficult to trust a rookie in a starting role. A team with Anthony, Rondo and Tyson Chandler could be just the team to do it with, though, as Hardaway would not be asked to play a large role offensively.
One option would be to shift Anthony over to small forward and allow Amar'e Stoudemire to re-enter the starting lineup at power forward, but the chemistry between the two stars has come into question in the past. Rondo would certainly know the best way to distribute opportunities between the two, but Stoudemire has shown that he doesn't play particularly well with Anthony.
The chances of a deal happening are still unknown as, like was mentioned earlier, there haven't been any rumors from very reputable sources just yet. The idea has been floated around, however, and now may be the best time to make a deal for Rondo.
The Celtics are in complete "sell" mode, and the Knicks could always benefit from getting a little younger (and better, of course). If Grunwald plays his cards right, then the Knicks could have a new point guard come the opening tip of the NBA season.
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