Adding a star point guard like Rajon Rondo would certainly put an exclamation point on Joe Dumars’ rebuilding of the Pistons.
But the price is currently much too high.
The Boston Globe reported this weekend that the Pistons have talked to Boston about Rondo, trying to tempt the Celtics with some combination of Brandon Knight, the expiring contracts of Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey and future draft picks.
Detroit is hampered by the fact that it will have to send a first-round pick to Charlotte in one of the next three drafts, meaning the Pistons can’t offer the Celtics a top choice.
However, not having an available first-round pick isn’t the biggest obstacle the Pistons face in obtaining the four-time All-Star.
The Globe said that the Celtics want a package that starts with Detroit’s most-valuable property, Andre Drummond. At 19, Drummond would be the perfect addition to a team that’s trying to rebuild after already trading Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
As a teenager in his rookie season, Drummond showed the potential to be an All-Star — while dealing with a back injury that limited him to 60 games.
Of course, that’s exactly why the Pistons can’t consider making any such trade. Dumars has the same thing in mind as Danny Ainge — building a team around Drummond.
Even without anything resembling a polished offensive game, Drummond averaged more than 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per 20.7 minutes.
With Rasheed Wallace now on board to work with him, the Pistons are hoping Drummond can become a much bigger part of their offense this season — something that would turn him into an instant All-Star candidate.
So the Celtics aren’t interested in a package featuring Knight, and the Pistons aren’t going to give up Drummond. Is there a compromise?
Possibly. Boston could certainly use Greg Monroe, and the Pistons could move newly acquired Josh Smith to his favored position of power forward.
Rondo would end Dumars’ quest for Detroit’s next star point guard, but giving up a 23-year-old who’s good for a double-double almost every night is a lot — especially since Rondo is four years older, coming off a torn ACL and carries a reputation as one of the NBA’s toughest players to coach.
A point guard of Rondo’s caliber is hard to find — the Pistons have been trying to get one since trading Chauncey Billups — so Dumars will have to decide if getting that player is worth the price.
Is Rondo — complete with question marks over his health and attitude — worth giving up Monroe? Or does Dumars bank on Knight, now with Billups back on board as a veteran mentor, fulfilling the promise the Pistons saw when they drafted him in 2011?