Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin's announcement that no player in the team's roster is untouchable from trade discussion has ignited speculations that the Kyrie Irving for Rajon Rondo is still possible after all.
Griffin, the force behind the blockbuster deal that brought All-Star power forward Kevin Love from Minnesota Timberwolves last summer, showed in a recent interview his willingness to make another big move on trading front to improve the Cavs' chance in winning their first ever title.
"No one is untouchable, and you're never done building a team, so we're always paying attention to what opportunities are out there," Griffin told Northeast Ohio Media Group via Cleveland.com
"My tendency is always trying to do what we can do to improve the roster. But I'm not looking to create one so much as paying attention to what I'm hearing."
Considered as one of the favorites to win the championship this season, the star-studded Cavaliers split their first 10 games so far, with loses coming against the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets and the defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs.
Although many analysts expected the team to deal with a slow start as they try to find their identity as a unit, the Cavs' weaknesses were nevertheless exposed in each game they played.
Perimeter and interior defense has always been an issue from the start for the Cavs, who currently don't have a legit shot-blocker in the team. But the most vulnerable aspect for the team right now is the lack of cohesiveness among its players, especially the superstar triumvirate of Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
After averaging almost 24 points and 12 rebounds per game in Minnesota, Love has been a far-cry from his old, dominant self. James, on the other hand, has assumed most of the ball-handling duties with Irving struggling to find his niche as a playmaker in David Blatt's offense. Having said of that, the blame for the Cavs' surprising sloppy start has been placed on the tender shoulder of the 22-year old Irving,
While it's very true that Irving has all the skills-set to become one of the deadliest scorers in the league, the former Duke standout hasn't experienced playing for a team with championship aspirations. He hasn't played a single postseason game since he entered as the first overall pick in the 2011 Draft, while his defense and tendency to play one-on-one have been heavily scrutinized by basketball pundits.
According to analyst, if there's one trade that would make a big difference for the Cavs it would be a deal that sends Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo.
Rondo has bounced back in a big way since suffering an ACL injury that sidelined him for almost a year. The All-Star playmaker is averaging at least 10 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds per game and showed improvement in his field-goal (46 percent) and three-point shooting (40 percent) so far.
The quality that makes Rondo a better fit for the loaded Cavs is his ability to make his teammates better. Already with unstoppable offensive weapons in James and Love, the Cavs may not longer need a shot-happy guard like Irving but instead a proven distributor in Rondo.
Rondo's tenure in Beantown has been a subject of debates for the past two seasons. With the playmaker hitting free-agency this summer, the Celtics are facing hard decision whether to trade Rondo or let him test the market without the assurance that he will re-sign.
Danny Ainge is an opportunist. If he's going to trade Rondo, he would make sure that the price is certainly worth it. Acquiring Irving is a big bang in the buck for Boston. While Marcus Smart is the team's future at point guard position, he's also versatile enough to easily shift to the two-spot and play together with Irving in the Celtics' backcourt.