By KHARI THOMPSON
College Contributor Network
Trade winds are swirling up in Boston. That's not that surprising for the Celtics these days, but these are no ordinary gusts. Apparently Rajon Rondo is ready to jump ship.
Numerous media outlets, including NESN, have reported that Rondo has demanded for the Celtics to trade him.
The reports followed comments made by ESPN's Jackie MacMullan on the network's 'Around the Horn' show.
"It will happen," declared MacMullan.
"Because he told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that's the truth."
Meanwhile, BDA Sports, the agency that represents Rondo, begs to differ.
"Neither Bill nor Rajon know where this has come from, but it didn't come from them," said a company spokeswoman in a text message to the Boston Herald.
"They want this on the record. Neither has spoken to anyone on this."
Just because Rondo supposedly didn't kick down Danny Ainge's door and demand a trade, doesn't mean he wants to stay in Boston. He has already described free agency as both "intriguing" and something he "may want to go through."
And he has a point. The Celtics are coming off a 25-57 season in which they finished 12th in the Eastern Conference and just spent a lottery pick on another point guard – likely for insurance if Rondo decides to leave.
With Rondo likely to earn a hundred million dollar contract on the open market next summer, it's unclear if the Celtics will be willing to commit to that kind of deal to keep their star. If that is the case, allowing Rondo to walk away without getting anything in return would be disastrous for the Celtics. Even though reporters like MacMullan doubt that the Celtics could get "eighty cents on the dollar" for him, eighty cents is still better than nothing.
So who has enough loose change to entice the Celtics? The Knicks sure don't, neither do the Rockets. So far the best potential package has come from Sacramento, who reportedly offered Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and a first round pick last February.
But, as Thomas has since signed with Phoenix and Rondo allegedly refuses to sign an extension with the Kings, this deal looks dead for the time being as well.
Clearly, the Celtics will continue to field calls about Rondo but trading him isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. If they aren't tempted by any packages by the trade deadline, the Celtics may hang on to Rondo and try to re-sign him in the offseason.
That is a risky proposition, no doubt about it, but there is one huge advantage that the Celtics have over other teams. Rondo admittedly doesn't like change and has built quite a strong fan base in Boston.
The former Kentucky Wildcat admitted back in June that he's "pretty comfortable" in Boston and "loves it" there.
"This is home for me as of now," he remarked.
While Rondo's comfort with and loyalty to Boston may not be enough to stop him from testing the market, it could be enough to keep him from bolting next summer.
However, there is a strong chance that he could leave and that is a scenario for which the Celtics have to brace themselves. The Celtics got Smart-er and Young-er in this year's draft, but there is still hope for Celtics fans that Rondo will commit to running the show for Boston long term.
Khari Thompson is a sophomore at Hampton University, who hails from Boston, MA. Majoring in Broadcast Journalism, Khari is the play-by-play voice of Hampton Lady Pirates basketball. Follow him on Twitter: @thatkidchief
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