January 19, 2014 11:31 am ET
Rajon Rondo is back ... on the trade block. (USATSI)
Rajon Rondo is finally back for the Celtics, and now the question becomes how long will he stay in Boston.
Rondo is the last blue chip from the 2008 championship team and 2010 Finals team that Celtics president Danny Ainge can convert into assets as he rebuilds the franchise. More than a few GMs around the league expect Rondo to be on the move, if not at the trading deadline next month, then maybe in June at draft time.
If you're wondering why they would want to move him so soon, here are the basics. If they can get a first-round pick for him, they'll need to pull the trigger as soon as they can, before the lottery. Second, Rondo's going to be in a contract year next year, and under the new CBA, we've seen fewer deals in that final year as teams decide to just wait and try to sign players as a free agent.
It's extremely unlikely the Celtics can rebuild to a point where having Rondo is a plus in that timeframe, so moving him makes the most sense. Plus, the number one rule for any rebuild is you move your best player on a big contract. It gets you the most assets back.
That said, Rondo just came back from surgery, and Danny Ainge is notoriously patient in searching out the right deal. So expect things to be largely back to normal. A lot of rumors where Rondo's involved, but the right deal might take quite a while to come through, especially considering how many teams have their franchise poin guard already. This is a process, but with Rondo back, it starts now.