Mar 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Celtics 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rocket’s have previously expressed their interest in acquiring the 4 time All Star. In fact, the mercurial guard was offered to the Rockets in exchange for small forward Chandler Parsons towards the back end of last season. GM Daryl Morey passed on the deal.
This was a surprising move at the time, but was legitimized by Rondo’s long term health (ACL comeback). In hindsight it is plausible that his refusal to acquire a third star to pair with Harden and Howard was a result of Parson’s agent controlling his client.
Nevertheless, that opportunity presented itself and vanquished. There has been no official word out of the Rockets camp that Rondo is a wanted man, and there has been conflicting reports on Rondo’s availability. The Celtic’s Danny Ainge has publicly denied reports that Rondo is on the trade table, so if Ainge is sticking to his word, this article is a redundant outlook on Rondo’s theoretical yet highly unlikely arrival at Houston.
However, the Celtics are in a transitional stage, and a player of Rondo’s calibre and reputation on a juicy expiring contract will field interest from several teams without doubt.
The first serious question that presents itself when discussing Rondo and Houston in the same sentence is whether Morey can even make the trade happen. And that debate is another opinion and dissection all in its own, the question is, if Morey could acquire Rondo, should he?
It is not a question of whether Morey would acquire Rondo if the opportunity presented itself, as his unquenchable thirst for a third star would suggest after failing in pursuit of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
Rondo is not the answer the Rockets are searching for. After building a promising 2013/2014 season and securing home court advantage in the playoffs, the Rockets sweltered under the heat of the Portland Trailblazers and crashed out in the first round.
The Rockets do need depth and the point guard position is desperately shallow for McHale’s men, even more so after Jeremy Lin headed west to the bright lights of L.A. during the offseason. But Rondo is not the answer for Houston, there are various reasons for this.
One could pinpoint his abysmal shooting from the arc, which the Rockets emphasize through ‘moreyball’. One could question Rondo’s attitude in the locker room and the personality clashes he would have with Howard and Harden. One would most definitely question Rondo’s worth after a recent string of serious injuries, the latest being a broken hand that required surgery and the most serious being an ACL injury.
But it is all about balance.
Barring the Miami Heat big 3 of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, unbalanced team’s with a lack of proportional depth across every position are exposed in the playoffs and seldom achieve glory.
If Daryl Morey somehow landed Rondo, and that is a big if, the Rockets would have their own legitimate big 3. This is what Morey wants, but it is the wrong ideology. The Miami Heat franchise of the past 3 years was successful because the combination of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh was a trio of few weakness. Howard and Rondo are especially poor from the free throw line. Harden is a mediocre defender and struggles to find the balance between distributing and taking control. To further compound matters, it is hard to envision a successful offense involving Harden and Rondo
In essence, it worked for the Heat because Pat Riley assembled a trio that complemented each other and masked the glaring shallowness of the remaining roster. The potential big 3 in Houston would not succeed in masking individual’s shortcomings and as a result Houston would have made little inroads towards a Championship.
Whilst Rondo landing at Space City would be something to salivate at, Houston’s front office must opt for acquiring complementary talent and depth to surround Harden and Howard if they want to make a deep playoff run.