Brief history of Rajon Rondo trade rumors

Brief history of Rajon Rondo trade rumors
February 19, 2014, 3:00 pm
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As far as I can tell, it all started back in early summer of 2007. More specifically, in the days leading up to the 2007 NBA Draft. This was after the Celtics had fallen hard in the lottery. After Danny Ainge had decided it was time to cash in. It was Draft Day. Boston was in serious negotiations with Seattle on a trade for Ray Allen — and the Sonics wanted 21-year-old Rajon Rondo.
 
Ainge said no (after Seattle refused to throw in Robert Swift). Eventually, the Sonics settled on Delonte West and the wheels were in motion.
 
Next, it was late July, and Boston was in serious negotiations with Minnesota on a trade for Kevin Garnett — and the Wolves wanted 21-year-old Rajon Rondo.
 
Again, Ainge said no. Eventually, the Wolves settled* on Sebastian Telfair and just like THAT the Celtics were rebuilt. Rondo’s life and career would never be the same.
 
(*For some reason, this seems like a good time to point out that Ryan Gomes doesn’t get enough credit for his role in making the Garnett trade happen. Looking back, it’s easy to forget that the Celtics selected Gomes with the 50th pick in the 2005 draft. That he’s easily one of the best No. 50 picks in NBA history. And that if Gomes hadn’t so quickly -- and somewhat surprisingly -- developed into the player that he did, the Celtics wouldn’t have had the assets to make the KG deal happen without Rondo. Which is to say, it probably wouldn’t have happened at all.)
 
Anyway, like I said. BOOM — Rondo’s life had changed. In one month, he’d gone from playing in a crowded backcourt for one of the saddest teams in the NBA to being the starting point guard (alongside his best friend and three future Hall of Famers) on a bonafide title contender.
 
This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and Rondo didn’t miss it. He became a star. He became a champion. He became RONDO — this quiet, moody, smart, sarcastic, mysterious and polarizing character, who people appreciated but still struggled to understand — on and off the court.
 
Along the way, he made some mistakes. But that was OK. He was still so young. He was supposed to make mistakes, just as long as he was learning from them. However, in the spring of 2009, he wasn’t learning. He was becoming a problem. He wasn’t getting along with Doc Rivers or his teammates. The Celtics thought that he was coasting and needed to get a grasp on his emotions. He showed up late to a playoff game!
 
“We expect him to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said in June of that year. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don't know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it's just unacceptable.”
 
Rondo’s agent (Bill Duffy) fired back: “I am just surprised that Danny is speaking, even if he considers it constructively, in a public setting [about Rondo],” Duffy told WEEI. “I don't think that it's appropriate to say that about one of your top players. Even if it's spoken constructively, I don't think it should be done in public. I don't think he would like it if Wyc was talking about him in public.”
 
Wow. They don’t call him Bill “The Burn” Duffy for nothing. (Note: No one calls him that.)
 
Anyway, in the weeks leading up to the 2009 draft, Rondo was officially thrown into the NBA meat grinder. This was the beginning of what now feels like a lifelong stream of Rondo rumors.
 
The alleged trade with Phoenix — Rondo and Ray Allen for Leandro Barbosa, Amar’e Stoudemire and the 14th pick — always sticks out because of the ramifications it reportedly had on Rondo and Allen’s relationship. But Phoenix wasn’t the only potential landing spot for Rondo that summer. He was also headed to Memphis with Brian Scalabrine for Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. And then to Detroit with Allen, for Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.
 
But nothing happened. Ultimately, Ainge said it was all overblown.
 
So, how did Rondo respond to his first summer in trade rumor hell?
 
First, he showed up in Orlando that next month and served as an unofficial assistant coach for the Celtics summer league team. That November, Rondo signed his contract extension. That February, he made his first All Star Game. That June, at 24 years old, he averaged 15.8 points, 9.3 assists and 5.6 rebounds while playing more than 40 minutes a game during the Celtics unlikely run to the NBA Finals. In Game 2 of the Finals, Rondo had a triple-double and scored 10 points over the last six minutes to lead Boston to the upset win.
 
In other words, he responded pretty well.
 
And that earned everyone some peace and quiet. In terms of Rondo, the 2010 Draft was uneventful. Same goes for the 2011 deadline — except that instead of trading Rondo, the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins.
 
Rondo was on board with the deal before it happened. It’s not like Ainge would just trade an All Star’s best friend without running it by the guy first. In this case, Rondo signed off, and Perk was sent packing. This happens to coincide with the time that Rondo’s game (or it seemed, his effort) turned more inconsistent than ever.

Some of thought it was because he missed Perk. Others thought he was just being selfish. Shaq later suggested that it was because President Obama insulted his jump shot. But whatever the reason, peace and quiet had frozen over and it felt like only a matter of time before everything would shatter.
 
That time arrived in late November ‘11. The NBA lockout had been settled, Chris Paul was on the market and Ainge took a stab at it — offering Rondo and change for the Hornets’ superstar.
 
First, Rondo was headed to New Orleans. Then, he was headed to Indiana, as part of a three-team deal. It never materialized, of course. But as a consolation, someone with the Celtics leaked a story about Rondo freaking out and breaking a TV during the previous years’ playoffs.
 
Yay!
 
At the 2012 deadline, he was headed to LA for Pau Gasol and Golden State for Steph Curry. The Curry rumors were accompanied by an ESPN (BROUSSARD ALERT) report that stated:
 
“Boston is aggressively shopping Rondo, according to sources. The Celtics find Rondo's personality to be too high-maintenance and his clashes with coach Doc Rivers continue. With the Celtics having realized they are no longer title contenders, they don't believe the payoff is worth the headaches Rondo brings, sources say. And they do not want to build around him.”
 
But nothing happened. Ultimately, Ainge said it was all overblown.
 
So, how did Rondo respond to his (then) latest summer in trade rumor hell?
 
That June, at 26 years old, he averaged 17.3 points, 11.9 assists and 6.9 rebounds while playing more than 42 minutes a game during the Celtics unlikely run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. In that last series against the Heat, Rondo was — if not always, then for various long periods of time — the best player on a court he was sharing with six future Hall of Famers.
 
He was also suspended one game in the first round for bumping an official, and that triggered a familiar chorus of Rondo hate. But he also had four triple doubles. He was fantastic. This was Rondo at his best, and it appeared that he was finally ready to take over and help the Celtics successfully turn the page on a new era of Boston basketball.
 
He wasn’t ready.

The fall of 2012 was a disaster. Rondo was in and out of the line-up thanks to an assortment of injuries. Even when he played, he wasn’t all there. Suddenly, as the story went, this guy who only months before had nearly carried the Celtics to the Finals (while playing the most dominating brand of point guard this city had ever seen) only cared about assists. His effort was uneven. His apathy was on overdrive.
 
In January of 2013, Rondo tore his ACL, and in the 13 months since, he's lived in rumor central. He’s been linked to the Lakers, Kings, Rockets, Bucks, Raptors, Mavericks, Pistons, Knicks, Knicks and don’t forget the Knicks. And that brings us to today, with the another deadline fast approaching. We know that Ainge might not want to trade Rondo, but that he will for the right price. We know that Ainge might not be making any Rondo calls himself, but that he’s more than willing to listen anytime someone else wants to talk.

And for the next 24 hours, we know that people will want to talk. That the calls will be coming in, the rumors will be flying and Rondo's name will be out there, because it always is. Because he's Rajon Rondo. It’s the same old story.

In which case, it's probably time to start putting the finishing touches on another chapter filled with nothing.
 
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