Jose Calderon and Rajon Rondo

In the Blogger GM Series, I’ll email bloggers for other NBA teams and try to make a trade happen while pretending that we’re the GMs of our respective teams. It’s one of the more ridiculous ideas I’ve had recently, so I naturally knew I had to try it. In this series, I’ll print the email correspondences with these bloggers and encourage you to give your opinion on the trade proposals.

In part one of this series, I tried to pry Rajon Rondo away from Jeff Clark of Celticsblog.com.

Scott writes:

All right, so I was listening to the November 30 episode of the ESPN: NBA Today podcast on my drive into work today, and they were discussing the possibility that Danny was dangling Rondo in the hopes of getting some extra scoring punch. Well, how does a 20 PPG player strike you? Here’s my proposal, which works under the ESPN Trade Checker:

Celtics acquire: Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon
Raptors acquire: Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal

As well as giving you a couple of good-to-great offensive players, it also fills out your starting lineup nicely if you choose to play it that way. KG’s defense and rebounding can help make up for Bargnani’s deficiencies in those areas. As another option, you could sign a defensive-minded free agent center and start him, and then use Bargnani for 25-30 minutes per game as a potential sixth man of the year candidate. With Calderon, he’s obviously not nearly the defender or playmaker that Rondo is, but he’s a much better shooter and arguably a top-10 playmaker (8.9 assists per game last season).

Why this trade appeals to me is that the Raptors need to rebuild and they’ve hired a defensive-minded coach in Dwane Casey with the goal of improving significantly on that end of the court. Rondo is one of the best defenders in the league at his position and he’s young enough to be a valuable piece in the Raptors’ rebuild. As for O’Neal, the Raptors would waive him under the new Amnesty rule so that he could try and attract interest from a contending team.

What do you think? Try not to sprain your fingers by typing “YES” too quickly…

Jeff replies:

I can see that from the Raptors perspective and I understand that Bargnani is a bigtime talent on offense, but I have to say with all due respect that I hate that trade idea from a Boston perspective.

Part of it is my bias to having a top notch point guard.  There are very, very few players I would give up Rondo for (aloof, prickly attitude and all) and one of them just happens to be (allegedly) on the market right now — Chris Paul.

The only way I could imagine the Raptors getting involved there is as the 3rd team (New Orleans for some reason would rather have rebuilding pieces instead of Rondo).  So depending on what New Orleans is looking for, I could see a deal like this being more to their liking.

Celtics acquire: Chris Paul
Raptors acquire: Rajon Rondo
Hornets acquire: DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and Jermaine O’Neal

(With Jermaine O’Neal only being a place holder for a Big Baby sign and trade.)

Granted, I’m sure you really like those young players and they might not be something you’d be willing to give up for Rondo.  Perhaps another way would be to get into the business of taking on Okafor’s contract for someone with a shorter deal.  I’m not sure but perhaps that’s something that you could work out with a Hornet’s blogger.

The conversation continued from there but it was clear to me that the Raptors don’t have what it takes to get Rondo without gutting their young core. Even if I did like that trade as described, I’m pretty sure a Hornets blogger would have demanded that the Raptors throw in their 2012 first rounder, which would have upgraded the criminality of this trade from robbery to homicide.

Do you think my proposal had any merit? Was Jeff’s response close enough to being sane that I should have tried to tweak the trade to make it work? Give your thoughts in the comments.

Edit: I almost didn’t notice the projected effect on wins (“Hollinger’s Analysis”) between our two trade proposals. For my proposal: +1 win for the Raptors, -2 wins for the Celtics. For Jeff’s proposal: +5 wins for the Celtics, +4 wins for the Hornets, -15 wins for the Raptors.