Updated 12:50 PM EST, Fri, Jan 15, 2021

Boston Celtics Roster, Rumors, and Trade Updates: Will the Celtics Deal Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green?

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Rajon Rondo is having a hard time leaving Boston. Not that NBA teams would turn down the four-time All-Star if they had the chance to get him; the problem is that most just don't have desirable trade chips to make it work.

Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge shopped Rondo to Phoenix and Detroit, and was briefly linked to Houston and New York, before a recent rumor placed him in Sacramento. According to Steve Kyler of Basketballinsider.com, both clubs adamantly deny any trade talks.

The reported deal would send Rondo to the Kings in exchange for Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams. Sacramento's shoddy front line would get an immediate boost -Rondo would presumably oust starting point guard Darren Collison--while Boston's cramped backcourt would then become quite mediocre.

Ainge drafted guards James Young and Marcus Smart last spring while signing Evan Turner and Marcus Thornton. Acquiring another shooter hinders the inexperienced group's progress.

The only way the Celtics take a lopsided deal would be by packaging a second expiring contract alongside Rondo's.

Jeff Green is the ideal candidate. He's been on the trade block for almost two years and teams have inquired into him as much as they've coveted Rondo. The forward averaged 16.9 points and 34.2 minutes per game in his first 82-game season since 2009-10.

Green can leave $9.2 million on the table and opt for free agency next summer. It's the ideal scenario for the Celtics if they can't move him before the February trade deadline. They're rebuilding. Rondo and Green only impede their growth.

Ainge went through a similar process in assembling the pieces for a 2007-2008 championship run. It took high draft picks, multiple players and patience to bring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Beantown. Granted, Rondo and Green won't bring a similar return, but letting them walk via free agency would be devastating.

Nothing short of a max contract brings Rondo back. Even then, it's a futile effort given his desire to test the open market. When healthy, Rondo is a triple-double threat on a nightly basis.

The two-time NBA assists leader averaged 8.3 assists, 1.9 steals, and 4.5 rebounds per game before an ACL tear limited him to 68 games over the last two years. He's the franchise leader in assists per game and steals per game, trailing only Paul Pierce and Larry Bird in steals.

That's something the Celtics can't give up without getting something in return.

The Knicks need him lining up next to Carmelo Anthony.  Indiana needs someone to replace Paul George's productivity. The Pistons and Kings need a cornerstone. Rondo is that piece. It's up to Ainge to determine whether he's a piece Boston can still grow around.

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