DAILY DISH: Rajon Rondo for Chris Paul trade? Plus Big Ten/ACC Challenge

By: Kels Dayton

  • What is wrong with Danny Ainge? The Boston Celtics general manager has offered up his star point guard, Rajon Rondo, to other teams so many times over the past couple of years that it has seemingly become part of his morning routine. Wake up… make some coffee… leak a trade  rumor involving Rondo.

    Celtics GM Danny Ainge seems hellbent on getting rid of his star young point guard. (Melvin Ivins/US Presswire)

The latest buzz involves a swap with New Orleans, which would send Chris Paul, arguably the league’s best point guard, to Boston in exchange for Rondo. Forget the fact that Paul would be an upgrade (although relatively slight) over Rondo, and that the deal makes sense for both teams (New Orleans would do well to get that kind of value in return for Paul, who is probably going to bolt after the season), the question remains: Why does Danny Ainge so desperately want to rid himself of Rondo? And even more pressingly: Why is he making this information so public?

At just 25 years old, the Celtics point guard is a year younger than Paul, and has put up surprisingly similar numbers. Rondo averaged a career-best 11.2 assists last season, to go along with 10.6 points per game. He’s averaged at least 10 points and 8 assists each of the past three seasons, and has already proven that he can win a championship, (something Paul hasn’t done.) By contrast, Paul averaged 15.8 points and 9.8 assists last season, and played just 45 games in an injury-shortened 2009-10 season. But it’s not about Paul. Rondo has been rumored in trades with Memphis, Detroit, Portland, Phoenix, Siberia… pretty much everywhere over the past few years.

Danny Ainge will have a long leash in Boston because he fell into a championship in 2008, but he has orchestrated some mind-numbingly dumb maneuvers, including trading away Kendrick Perkins last season, which effectively killed the Celtics’ title dreams. Continually playing mind games with the team’s stud point guard isn’t exactly going to help Boston’s chances this year, either. Ainge needs to re-evaluate his methods as a general manager, or he won’t be hoisting another Larry O’Brien trophy anytime soon.

  • Ohio State punked Duke in the Big Ten/ACC challenge on Tuesday night, treating the Blue Devils like their younger brother and punishing them every trip down the floor, all but giving them a noogie in a thorough 85-63 smackdown. Buckeyes big man Jared Sullinger scored 21 points and had 8 rebounds, and dominated Duke’s formidable frontcourt inside. Ohio State shot a blistering 57 percent from the floor, and held Duke to 3-for-15 shooting from three point range. The only question is whether or not the game said more about the Buckeyes than it did about the Blue Devils. When Duke loses, it often goes down in flames, and that’s because there are many teams out there with more athleticism, and some years, frankly, more talent. Duke wins with great coaching, good shooting, and the benefit of a lot of calls. Ohio State made it clear on Tuesday night that they have a more athletic–if not more talented club this season. If the two teams meet again in the NCAA’s, there’s a good chance it won’t be close again.
  • They’re a little bit contrived, but you’ve got to love these conference challenge series. Thanks to the Big Ten/ACC challenge, the Pac-12/Big 12 Hardwood Series, and the Big East/SEC challenge, college hoops fans will have plenty of post-Thanksgiving hoops to salivate over this week. Just look at these matchups: Indiana at N.C. State, Florida State at Michigan State, Wisconsin at North Carolina, Vanderbilt at Louisville, Florida at Syracuse, St. John’s at Kentucky and Georgetown at Alabama….and that’s just over the next three days. It’s a great time to be  a college hoops fan.

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