In assessing the Houston Rockets moving forward after a first-round exit from the playoffs, ESPN.com's Marc Stein says it's inevitable that general manager Daryl Morey will call Boston to gauge Rajon Rondo's availability:
Carmelo Anthony has been billed as the biggest name Houston will chase hardest come July. It's inevitable that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey will likewise check in his with his old boss Danny Ainge in Boston -- as he did before the trade deadline in February -– just to make sure Rajon Rondo isn’t suddenly available.
Kevin Love isn't nearly as available as Melo will be this summer. He might not be available at all via trade. Yet you can rest assured that Houston will be lobbing frequent calls to Minnesota to test the Wolves' resolve, since Love would complement Howard better than pretty much anyone you could nominate.
Yet it’s also rather reasonable to ask: How much sense does Melo make? Neither Anthony nor Rondo looks like the ideal addition, in terms of skill set, if you're planning to keep the incumbent stars together, whether the concern in question is Anthony's defensive deficiencies on a team already asking Howard and Patrick Beverley to do too much on D ... or Rondo's need to have the ball in his hands as much as Harden.
Late Stein throws water on the idea, noting that Houston would be reluctant to part with Parsons:
Parsons is the Rocket every rival team tries to steal. Boston would insist on Parsons if Rondo-to-Houston talks ever got serious. Teams are likewise said to be telling the Rockets all the time, when Morey is shopping either Asik or Lin, that it will also cost you Parsons if you're expecting us to take on one of those infamous balloon payments scheduled to lift both Asik and Lin to the brink of $15 million in annual salary next season ... albeit with a salary-cap number of just $8.4 million.
The Rockets, though, surely can't be willing to trade a former No. 38 overall pick who has blossomed so far beyond draft-night expectations and also happens to have played such a big role in the recruitment of Howard to Houston.
With Rondo set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, his name will inevitably swirl in rumors throughout the summer (and again in February). Even after the trade deadline passed in February, Rondo acknowledged it was only a temporary reprieve before the whispers started again.