Rajon Rondo is eagerly approaching free agency after the 2014-15 NBA season, and it is widely believed that the Boston Celtics will eventually have to trade the All-Star point guard if they want to get anything in return before he hits the market.
The Celtics are expected to offer a long-term deal to Rondo, but, according to the Basketball Insider, league executives are convinced that the 28-year-old playmaking guard will instead opt in to free agency in the summer of 2015.
Because Kevin Love is expected to head to the Cavaliers later this month, Rondo will be the most desired free agent scheduled for the 2015 free agent class, and he is likely going to command a max level, or near max level contract. Obviously the Celtics know this, so it has to be a foregone conclusion that Rondo is going to be traded, especially since Boston is rebuilding and no one expects them to compete in the East with the likes of Cleveland or Miami. To bring this home even more, the Celtic would be foolish not to be shopping him, because he has made it abundantly clear that he wants to have a look at his options, and has made no long term commitment to the team.
The Celtics drafted rookie guard Marcus Smart, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, surely as a contingency plan to a possible Rondo departure.
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The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Rondo, but Houston has traded many of the pieces, like Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, that experts thought would be part of a Rondo trade. Lin was moved to the Lakers, and Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans. It's hard to image the Lakers would be as keen on Rondo as they were before acquiring Lin, so the door is open for other teams to get after Rondo.
In Late July, ESPN's Jeff Goodman suggested that the Denver Nuggets should work a deal for Rondo that included Guard Ty Lawson. Rondo would definitely be an improvement over Lawson at the point guard position for Denver, and it may be Boston's best option to rebuild after Rondo goes on his merry way.
The Phoenix Suns are another possibility, especially since starting Guard Eric Bledsoe wants to be traded. According to USA Today, the relationship between Bledsoe and the Suns has "soured" as of late, and they, like the Nuggets, also have the pieces to pull off a Rondo trade.