Rondo For Granger+Hill and Asik+Lin for Deron Willimas: Christmas Day Trade Rumours

Boston's phone has been ringing off the hook as season with teams expressing an interest in Rajon Rondo.

Boston’s phone has been ringing off the hook as season with teams expressing an interest in Rajon Rondo.

It is no secret that Omer ASik has requested a trade.  Repeatedly.  Likewise, with the Boston Celtics in re-build mode, a number of teams have made inquiries into obtaining All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.  It seems that a trade between the two teams was inevitable, but apparently things have fallen through.  In place of a trade centered around Asik and Rondo, however, have spouted two rumours.  A Boston/Indy deal that would see the Indiana Pacers send Danny Granger, George Hill and a first round pick to Boston in exchange for Rondo, and a deal between the reeling Brooklyn Nets and the Houston Rockets that would send Asik and Jeremy Lin to Brooklyn in exchange for Deron Williams.  But would these trades help out all of the teams in question

 

The trade between the Pacers and the Celtics looks good for both teams on paper.  Boston would not only get an All-Star in Granger back in the deal, but the starting point guard for the East’s best team, as well as a future first-round pick.  If you are re-building, there isn’t a much better package that you could hope for.  Granger is a gamble because of his recent injuries, but, because he is an expiring contract, he isn’t as high a risk. There is a chance that he doesn’t play well and/or bolts for another team in free agency, but at the very least the Celtics will clear a lot of cap space by unloading Rondo’s contract, and also pick up a draft pick in the process, not to mention a quality point guard. 

Danny Granger and George Hill could be headed to Boston.

Danny Granger and George Hill could be headed to Boston.

For the Pacers, though, this may be a high risk deal.  In essence, because they are already playing the best basketball in the league right now without Granger, this trade amounts to a Hill/Rondo swap with a draft pick thrown in to sweeten the deal.  On paper Rondo seems like a huge upgrade, but there may be some potential chemistry issues.  On the defensive end, there likely isn’t a point guard in the league who is better than Rondo, though there are a few who can play at his level.  Pairing Rondo with Hibbert is enough to make any defensive-minded coach/fan drool.  On offence, though, there might be a problem.   Right now Pacers do not have a primary playmaker.  They play team ball.  Lance Stephenson, the shooting guard, is actually picking up a lot of ball handling duties (he’s leading the team with 5.1 assists a game), as is Paul George (3.6 assists a game), who is averaging the same amount of assists that Hill currently is.  Plays are also run through David West in the post, with the talented forward average 3.1 assists a game himself.  Rondo has been a primary ball handler for the past four or five seasons, so bringing him in to Indiana may not work.  Taking the ball out of the hands of Stephenson, George and West may disrupt the team’s chemistry on offence, even as it is bolstered on defence.  There is also the question of Rondo’s shooting.  When George, Stephenson and West go inside, defenses have to stay on Hill because he is a solid shooter from behind the arc (.380 this season).  Rondo, however, cannot hit those shots, and so, will likely allow defenses to follow other players inside.  Inversely, Rondo’s drive-and-dish approach could make things easier for the likes of West, George and Stephenson, but it would be a dramatic change to the way the offense is run.  Coupled with all that, we have yet to see what Rondo can do post-injury.  It is possible he may not play at the level that is expected of him and that this deal may amount to the Pacers giving up an All-Star, a starter and a first round draft pick for nothing. 

Asik and Lin were brought in to help the Rockets become contenders, but they've e both spending more time on the bench than on the hardwood.

Asik and Lin were brought in to help the Rockets become contenders, but they’ve e both spending more time on the bench than on the hardwood.

The Rockets/Net trade is interesting for a number of reasons.  Looking at it from Houston’s perspective, it looks like a win-win.  They move disgruntled center Omer Asik, shed an unwanted contract in Jeremy Lin, and bring in a point guard who may very well be the second best point guard in the league.  Though James Harden does bring the ball up a lot, having a playmaker like Williams would not disrupt things the way they would for Indiana if they brought in Rondo.  Harden is the leading playmaker for the Rockets, but this is more of a necessity than a choice.  His 5+ assists per game is impressive for a shooting guard, but unlike Stephenson, his assist-to-turnover ratio makes him an inefficient passer (he get over 4 turnovers a game).  Having a more efficient playmaker draw defences away from Harden, while also providing more efficient playmaking, will make the Rockets a much better team.

Deron Williams signed an extension with the hopes that he, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez could contend for a title.  Injuries, coaching changes and trades have failed to improve the Nets.

Deron Williams signed an extension with the hopes that he, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez could contend for a title. Injuries, coaching changes and trades have failed to improve the Nets.

For the Nets, this trade would be about cutting losses.  Asik and Lin both have shorter contracts than Williams, and so cap space will be cleared out sooner as a result, which should help the Nets since they have traded away most of their draft picks and will need another way to bring in talent.  Will this make the Nets any better?  Having two defensive minded rebounders with a limited offensive game (Reggie Evans and Omer Asik) would make the center rotation a liability on offence, but other teams (the 2004 Detroit Pistons) have overcome this.  Lin, though, would be a down grade from Deron Williams, unless playing in New York would bring back Linsanity.  The Nets seem to be rejecting this deal, but as the losses mount up, and they are mounting up, the Nets may look to have a fire sale before the trade deadline.  Moving Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to contenders seems like the right thing to do since Garnett waived his no-trade clause in order to play for a contender, and once those two are gone, there seems like no point in building around a 30-year-old point guard with a center who has missed two of the last three seasons with an injury.  The Nets may shin this deal now, but shedding contracts before the trade deadline will likely be in their best interest if they are still sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.

Moving Williams for Lin might not make the Nets better now, but it can't make them worse, and it will improve their cap-space flexibility in the future.

Moving Williams for Lin might not make the Nets better now, but it can’t make them worse, and it will improve their cap-space flexibility in the future.

If I’m Boston, I take the deal Indy is offering.  If I’m Indy, I’m going to try to wrangle a deal that doesn’t involve losing George Hill.  Granger and some draft picks, along with Chris Copeland and/or C.J. Watosn might be good enough for Boston, and if it’s not, the Pacers will still be adding an All-Star to their roster as Granger is now back from injury.  As to the Rockets/Nets deals, the Nets may want to look around and see if they can get a better deal for Deron Williams, but at the end of the day, this team is not winning and a fire sale seems like it is in Brooklyn’s best interest.  It was an honest effort, but moving vets like Williams, Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry in exchange for expiring contracts and draft picks, may be the best move that Brooklyn can make now.

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