Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/13/14
OK, Internet. This is your time. Less than one full week remains before the NBA trade deadline, and now is the time when all semblance of sanity flies out of the window. So-called “anonymous sources” are about to work overtime. Even by the usual crazy standards of trade deadline season, though, Friday’s report that the Celtics and Lakers had engaged in preliminary talks for a swap of Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard caused tremors. The possibility of the two biggest rivals in the game exchanging their best players under the age of 30 is a shocking development, even if Rondo is out for the season with a torn ligament in his right knee and Howard has played well below his capabilities all season. So, go crazy with this one. Shut down the servers that support the ESPN Trade Machine and tweet your availability either to drive Rondo to the airport or to drive Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge off a pier, depending on how this trade sounds to the diehards. Just keep in mind that there is close to zero likelihood of such a deal every getting pulled off, for numerous reasons. Howard-for-Rondo could not be a straight-up trade. As you may have noticed, the Celtics do not have a ton of extra healthy bodies sitting around. The season-ending injuries to Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa have left the Celtics with 10 active players, and very few options to add reinforcements. Trading for Howard would exacerbate this problem, since the Lakers center makes more than $19.5 million and Rondo makes $11 million. The Celtics would have to add at least one other player to the package to make the salaries match up, per the collective bargaining agreement, and the Celtics’ depth would be dealt another blow. Both teams are over the luxury tax line and have other payroll limitations. Bolstering the roster is not as simple as the Celtics signing the top two or three players available. Ainge was aggressive last offseason, going right up to the luxury tax line of just over $70 million in building a team that was “scary” deep, in captain Paul Pierce‘s words. The Lakers flew way past that line, soaking up more than $100 million in salaries. So why can’t the Celtics just sell the farm for Howard and ask co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca to dig into their pockets and follow the Lakers’ lead? Because Jason Terry‘s contract restricts it. By signing the 35-year-old guard to the full $5 million mid-level exception, the Celtics agreed to stay below a $74.3 million curtain in payroll. Whatever collection of players the Celtics trade away, they would most likely have to fill those roster spots with D-Leaguers or players currently plying their trades in international leagues. Both teams would be admitting defeat, in a sense. Getting a sidelined point guard would confirm  the critics’ claims that this is a lost year for the Lakers. Acquiring a beleaguered center who is playing like a shell of his former self would mean the end of an era in Boston. At present, the Celtics have more than $71.5 million in payroll obligations for next season — with only 10 players signed. That puts them over the presumptive luxury tax threshold with one-third of their roster still empty. The CBA would grant the Celtics some benefits in trying to re-sign Howard, such as offering an extra year and greater raises from year to year, but they would have to make significant changes to the rest of the roster. Say goodbye to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who are due more than $27 million combined next year. The former would need to retire or the latter would need to be let go with his partially guaranteed deal in order for Boston to afford Howard. Even then, the payroll would be bloated and the roster less than two-thirds full. Both teams say they do not want to do the trade. They have not said so in those specific words, but we can infer their intentions from other words and actions. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has said he will not trade Howard this season, so there’s that. Ainge would not trade for Howard unless he was given assurance that Howard would sign with the Celtics, according to the report, and the last two years have taught every team not to hold its breath on such an assurance from No. 12. Ainge does this stuff all the time. Few executives are as aggressive and diligent as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. Back in January the “preliminary” discussions involved DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings. Now they reportedly involve Howard and the Lakers. This is called Ainge doing his J-O-B. He is picking up the phone, either to place the call or answer the ring from L.A. or wherever, to try to hammer out a way to make his team better. Most of the time, the preliminary talks go nowhere. Getting one’s panties in a bunch over Ainge holding “preliminary” trade discussions is like getting excited when my one-year-old smears mashed potatoes in her hair — this is just what they do, all the time. (Likewise, anybody disparaging Ken Berger for originally reporting these trade discussions is just as misguided. Berger did not write that a deal was imminent or even likely. He merely relayed some interesting information — which we know was interesting because lots of people read that story and because you are reading a story written about that story, right now — that he gathered in his hard work as a reporter. One can break down how realistic the proposed trade is without attacking the messenger.) This. Courtesy of NBA.com’s David Aldridge: Source who would definitely know re: reported Rondo/Howard talks: "nothing. Zero. Nada. Niente. Clear?" So, there's that.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 16, 2013 Have a ball with this rumor, folks. It is your right as an Internet people, and now is the time when virtually no trade proposal is off limits. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

Report: Josh Smith expected to sign with Rockets

Cullen Jenkins unhappy over his roughing the passer fine

Bochy: Peavy trade was best in-season move of 2014

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

Mike Yeo slams Wild for not having 'winner's attitude'

Michigan St. QB, Ohio State TE have awkward Twitter exchange

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each NFL Week 17 game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Ibaka, Aldridge ejected for scuffle

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Nick Young on Kobe-less win: He needs to pass

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.