[quote author=Celtics18 I agree that they are both "very good NBA players," and I would go as far as to add that they have the potential to get even better. But, Rondo is a superstar, top ten NBA player, the kind of player that is the cornerstone of a franchise. You need a guy like that, and there's no guarantee that DeMarcus Cousins or Tyreke Evans will ever reach that status.
When you have that guy entering his prime, you don't trade him away for guys who are "very good NBA players."
I would say that Rondo is a star, not quite a superstar just yet though.
To me the term "superstar" is reserved for guys like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Carmello Anthony, Karl Malone.
IMO a superstar is somebody who is capable of single handedly leading a team into title contention. Guys who can performing at a high level across a wide range of skill areas, while still being able to dominant a game with their scoring ability on a consistent basis.
John Stockton and Jason Kidd were elite PGs. They will both be Hall of Fame players and both will go down in history as top 5 or top 10 all time at the PG position. Both of those guys improved teams dramatically by making the players around them better, and both guys played critical roles to leading their teams to playoff success.
However as much as they could explode for 25 or 30 on the odd occasion, neither of those guys was capable of taking over a game offensively on a consistent basis. Stockton needed his Karl Malone. Jason Kidd needed his Vince Carter. Without those guys neither the Jazz nor the Nets would have ever gone deep in the playoffs, and neither of those guys would have received the recognition they deserved.
Rondo is IMHO in the same boat. When all is said and done I believe he will do down in history as one of the best to ever play the PG position...however he will never be able to lead a team deep in the playoffs unless he has a Paul Pierce, Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett by his side. His dominace is based upon his ability to create for others - if you don't have an elite scorer you can depend on to hit those shots, then your ability to create is diminished.
Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Gary Payton, Steve Nash, Stephon Marbury, Baron Davis (in their primes) are the type of Point Guards you can build a team around. This is because not only were they all excellent playmakers, but they were also all capable of consistently taking over games with their scoring. Yes I know that Steph and Baron dropped off (largely due to their attitudes) but they had the type of talent that would have allowed you to build around.
Ray is gone, Pierce and KG are slowing down. Boston no longer has a clear dominant offensive force this season, and as a result we are starting to see the first signs of what would happen if we tried to rebuild around Rondo. Because he's not capable of consistently dominating as a scorer, his ability to dominate a game depends on his ability to throw the pass which leads to the score. If the guy he passes to can't score, then his game is ineffective. Right now Rondo will score 20 probably once in every 5 games. He's capable of exploding offensively, but he can't do it consistently enough to be the centrepiece of a team.
Teams generally don't win with a great PG unless either:
1. That PG is also a great scorer or
2. They have a great scorer alongside their PG
Take a look at recent history:
* Miami heat won a title led by Lebron
* Dallas won a title led by Dirk and Terry (scoring PG)
* Lakers have won titles led by Kobe
* Spurs have won titles led by Duncan, Ginobilli, Parker (scoring PG)
* Detroit won a title led by Billups (scoring PG)
Even if you go back to the 80's Lakers and Pistons teams...they were led by Magic and Isiah. Both of them were Point Guards, but both were 20 PPG + scorers
Long story short...you can't win a title with an elite playmaking PG unless you also have an elite scorer.
You CAN win a title with an elite scorer if you DON'T have an elite playmaking PG.
Newsflash - once Pierce and KG leave, who is our elite scoring player? Jeff Green is the closest we have, but he's not yet come even close to showing he's capable of that role. We'd essentially have Rondo and a team full of solid role players, and that will NOT win us a title any time soon.
If either Tyreke or Cousins ever developed into Elite (> 20 PPG) scorer players, while the other remained a solid (15 PPG = 17 PPG) scorer as they already are...then we would have a better chance of winning a title with that combination then we would with Rondo and a bunch of role players. You NEED a volume go-to scorer to win a title.
Now imagine the next couple of seasons with this lineup:
Then once Pierce and KG retire in two or three seasons we have about 25 million in cap space to sign another All-Star calibre player to add to this mix. Lets say we sign Josh Smith:
There are just so many possibilities.
If we hold on to Rondo then our entire success depends on our ability to acquire an elite scoring talent to put alongside him. Josh Smith wouldn't be good enough offensively to work in this equation. We'd need sombody like Westbrook (won't play well with Rondo), Monta Ellis (won't play well with Rondo), Durant (won't leave OKC), Lebron (would never play in Boston), Carmello (probably a Knick for life now), etc. Getting a player of that calibre is not easy with the trade assets we have, and getting of one that calibre to sign via free agency i a challenge when your team (outside of Rondo) is made up of mostly role players.
So much as I hate to say it yeah, I think I'd have to accept this trade if it got offered to me. Especially considering that Thomas and Thompson themselves are not by any means shabby players.