If the Boston Celtics really are shopping All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, they should raise the asking price.
In a nationally televised Sunday matinee against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks, Rondo put together one of the all-time great individual performances, scoring 18 points, dishing out 20 assists and pulling down a career-high 17 rebounds.
The last player to accomplish a triple-double with at least 17 in each category was Magic Johnson in 1989, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
On an otherwise difficult afternoon for Lin, the sudden sensation pulled the Knicks within 96-95 with just over two minutes left in regulation and set up Carmelo Anthony’s go-ahead bucket one minute later. But after Paul Pierce drained a three-pointer with four seconds left to force overtime, it was the Rondo show the rest of the way.
“That’s the Rondo we like to see, playing with all that energy,” Pierce said. “He got the guys the ball in open spots; he did everything for us tonight. He rebounded, he passed, he got the clutch rebound there in overtime and got the layup. That’s the Rondo I like to see.”
It’s also the Rondo Boston fans have come to know and love. And Sunday’s effort has more than a few people wondering why Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has been trying to unload him.
The Celtics tried to deal Rondo for Chris Paul before the season began, and trade rumors involving the 26-year-old resurfaced last week. On Thursday, Ainge tried to calm the masses, saying of Rondo: “I anticipate him being here for a long time.”
“These rumors have never stopped, but I haven’t made a call mentioning Rondo’s name since last summer,” Ainge told the Boston Herald. “That was during all of the Chris Paul stuff.”
“Now, this time of year you’re going to get a lot of calls from other teams. But that’s just normal. I don’t anticipate anything happening.”
With aging scorers like Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett on the floor, Rondo is the ideal distributor and defender to lead them. But that doesn’t mean Ainge wouldn’t move him if the right offer is there. Remember, this is the GM who dealt Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett one month after acquiring Ray Allen from Seattle for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and the No. 5 pick.
And if teams are looking for a true point guard with a track record of success, Rondo provided quite the audition. It was enough to impress another All-Star point guard on a day in which he scored 57.
Blessed tonight! Thought my night was nice till I saw Rondo's performance #OuttaThisWorld!— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) March 5, 2012
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