I love how people keep bringing up the 40 point game, as if Rondo has ever done anything close to that before in his 6 or so seasons in the league! Didn't Tony Delk (or somebody similare) once score 50?
Honestly, I see both sides of the story. Before I was strongly in the "keep Rondo at any cost" group, but now I'm starting to lean towards the thought that trading him might be better for the team.
I love Rondo as a player and as a person, it would be incredibly sad to see him go. No doubt he's one of my favorite Celtics, but my biggest concern is that he can't be depended on as the centerpiece of the team, either now or in the future.
For all the people who are strongly against trading Rondo, the biggest argument is that he is our future leader and the player we will build around. The problem is that even now we rely more on Pierce (for our offense) and KG (for our defense) then we do on Rondo. If either of those guys goes down we probably don't make the playoffs, and if both go down we are a lottery team regardless of whether we have Rondo or not. Think about that. Then ask yourself where will we be in three seasons (once KG and Pierce retire) if Rondo is our centerpiece? The answer is probably not in the Playoffs. I can foresee Bradley taking over for KG as the defensive anchor / leader of the team, but unless we can sign an elite scorer who can take over as our offensive leader, we will be heading straight into rebuilding mode.
Think about John Stockton. He was an elite playmaker and one of the greatest Point Guards to ever play the game. While he was in Utah, the Jazz were one of the top teams in the league for roughly a decade, constantly going deep in the playoffs. The thing is though, Stockton could never have taken them that far on his own - he needed an elite go-to scorer (Malone) by his side to carry the team. Stockton was capable of scoring offensively, but to carry a team a capable scorer isn't enough, you need an elite scorer - a Dwyane Wade, a Kobe Bryant, a Paul Pierce, a Michael Jordan or a Derek Rose. Rondo is very similar to Stockton in that regard, and unless we have a second All-Star talent a Celtics team led by Rondo will never win a title.
People will bring up the Billups-led Pistons as an example, and it's true they never had an elite scorer, but that's the exception rather than the rule. They won with elite defense and multiple consistent scorers (Rasheed, Prince, Hamilton, Billups), but there are very few examples where teams like that have been able to win it all.
AB yesterday had 5 assists and 1 turnover, he played suffocating defense on Jason Kidd, and he played with great energy on offense. I'm not saying he's the same calibre PG as Rondo, but he did a pretty solid good job of running the point in his absense, and IMHO he impacts the game just as much (if not more) defensively as Rondo impacts the game offensively.
The problem here is that Bradley's trade value (though solid) is much lower than Rondo's. Traded on his own, Bradley would have no chance of bringing in an All-Star calibre player. To even dream of such a thing you'd need to add numerous additional players (out of the Bass/Lee/Green/Terry group) AND you'd likely need to throw some draft picks in as well. Worse case scenario you may even need to throw Sully in. That's a LOT of quality assets to give up for one player and filler, even if that player is an All-Star.
However if we traded Rondo, he is valuable enough that on his own he could probably bring back a potential future All-Star like Demarcus Cousins. If you throw in one decent role player (Bass) mediocre role player (Barbosa or Collins) and a pick we could possibly get Cousins+Evans or Cousins+Thomas in return. If you can do that deal you suddenly have 5 talented guys who are 23 or younger (Cousins, Thomas/Evans, Sully, Bradley, Melo) and who are barely scratching the surface of their potential, and should be very productive players for the next 10 seasons. You also get to keep Lee and Green who are both have 5 or so seasons before they reach their prime. On top of all that you still have Terry, Pierce and KG as veteran leaders who can guide us through the playoffs for the next two seasons.
By the time KG, Pierce and Terry retire at least one of our young guys should develop into an All-Star talent, while the other four should have developed into anything ranging from quality starters to borderline All-Stars, and all of them will still be only ~26 years old and years away from their prime. Green and Lee (at 28-29 years old) will still be in their prime and will be solid role players at the very least. We will have $30M in cap space (from the veterans retiring) that could be used to sign a max contract All-Star and multiple quality role players. The entire approach is very similar to what OKC went through with Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka only unlike OKC we wouldn't need to sacrifice the "NOW" to get there, becuase as long as Pierce and KG are on the team we have the potential to be a contender.
so just for a second, imagine we have a starting lineup something like this:
And a second unit like this:
Barbosa (if he isn't included in a the trade)
Can you hoenestly try to tell me that this roster doesn't have deep playoff potential?