Celtics boss Danny Ainge will find himself in a tricky situation within the next month or so. Star point guard Rajon Rondo is scheduled to return from injury, but the Celtics - who could be jockeying for a top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft - may not want him to take the floor at all.
It will look bizarre if Ainge holds Rondo out past late January, which would mark a full year since the C's floor leader injured himself against the Heat on a Sunday afternoon. But there is, of course, another option. Ainge could very well trade Rondo.
Rondo, who has been mentioned in numerous trade scenarios since he entered the league in 2006, was the centerpiece of a rumored deal with the Knicks that was floated Monday by the New York Daily News' Frank Isola. New York was looking to move guards Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton as well as big man Amar'e Stoudemire in the report.
Ainge told the Boston Herald later Monday, "I haven't talked to any teams about Rajon Rondo." He also attempted to make it clear prior to the start of the season that Rondo is the only player on the roster that is close to "un-tradeable."
"For sure, Rondo," Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub in September when asked which player is the most important piece moving forward. “The guy was a starter on the All Star team last year before he got hurt. That means he’s one of the top 10 players in the NBA. He’s still young and maturing all the time. He would be, by far, the most difficult piece to trade.”
If Ainge was thinking about trading the new Celtics' leader, he would likely want to do so at a time when Rondo's value was higher than it is now as there remain questions about No. 9's ability to bounce back from his first major injury.