Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan Show on Tuesday morning, said that while the Celtics have discussed the possibility of trading point guard Rajon Rondo several times, the team would only consider dealing him at this point for a "franchise-type" player. Whereas GM Danny Ainge and Celtics brass once considered banishing Rondo because of his fit on the team, Wojnarowski said that is no longer the case.
"For all the talks he has been in, and he has been in a lot of talks, I don't think Danny Ainge is ever going to trade him unless they got back a superstar. I think that was their goal. Because of his contract, because he's young, he's the one piece they have that has appeal to teams," said Wojnarowski. "Over two years ago, they put him out there when he was really having some issues getting along with teammates, being coachable. They dangled him to Detroit. They dangled him to Memphis. I think they were trying to put a little scare in him, saying, 'You don't think you're getting enough credit around here? You think you have it so bad? How'd you like to play in those places and play with those lottery teams?'
"Right now, when they put him out there, it was for a chance to get back a franchise-type player," he continued. "He impacts the game all over the court. It's easy to forget, then you see the type of game that he has opening day against the Knicks."
Indeed, while Wojnarowski said that the Celtics would have traded Rondo if they had been able to land Chris Paul, he also made clear that the 2010-11 All-Star is central to the fortunes of the Celtics this season.
"Rondo will be more important to this team than ever. You saw it opening night against the Knicks. He's going to have to be a dominant player for them this year," said Wojnarowski. "Last year, we saw it, especially after the Perkins trade, it never went away. He was very up and down for the rest of the season. He's got to play at a very high level all year long for this Celtics team to do anything."
Wojnarowski also touched on other topics, among them:
On where the Celtics stand in the East: "In the East, I'd probably say third right now. ... With an older team, [coach Doc Rivers has] tried to take a page out of Greg Popovich's strategy that he's had with the Spurs, which is, 'I'm just going to try to keep [Tim] Duncan and [Manu] Ginobli rested and ready for the playoffs.' But I think where Boston's going to get hurt in the playoffs, LA will get hurt in the playoffs, is you won't have the time between games in the postseason to recover that you normally have. They've compressed the playoffs also. You're not going to have two and three days between games as you've had in the past. I think even if you get to the playoffs rested, i don't think there's an advantage [compared] to the younger teams in the postseason."
On whether there are any players whom the Celtics can add: Wojnarowski cited Jeff Pryzbilla as a player who could offer the team some size, but suggested that there wasn't a clear player in the mold of Jeff Green ("An athletic, long body" to play defense against Miami) to acquire. "That kind of impact guy, or the perception of that impact guy, is probably not out there," he said.
On Kevin Garnett's dust-up with Billy Walker: Wojnarowski was surprised that Garnett wasn't fined, but did not think the fracas merited a suspension.