The Rajon Rondo trade rumors died down thanks to all of the Kevin Love, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony news over the summer. It didn’t take long for them to come storming back.

While no speculative deals are actually on the table (to our knowledge), the pot is seemingly already being stirred again with other GMs talking about Rondo’s availability. Despite Celtics GM Danny Ainge claiming he has no intention of unloading his best player, an unnamed rival GM speculates that Ainge and co. simply may not have a choice.

The source concluded that Ainge and the Celtics already should know that “it’s the right thing” to trade Rondo. While it’s not a report, they are words that at least make sense and ultimately should end up ringing true. After all, Rondo is wasting his prime on a losing team, while the Celtics are at risk of losing a star player for nothing as he continues to play out his contract year.

Naturally, that should get the Rajon Rondo rumor mill popping sooner or later. We’ll jump on it first and take a look at his five most likely destinations via trade:

Indiana Pacers

This one is about the future and less about this year. Indy is in a bad way with Paul George almost certainly out for the year, but they sorely need a point guard upgrade for beyond this year. George Hill isn’t cutting it and Rondo could come in and help George, David West and Roy Hibbert. The defensive-minded Pacers would immediately be a threat to reclaim their top spot in the Eastern Conference next year.

New York Knicks

New York doesn’t have a point guard due to injuries at the moment, while Jose Calderon probably isn’t the long-term answer, anyways. Phil Jackson wants someone to effectively run the Triangle offense, which doesn’t necessarily requite an elite point guard, but could have Rondo fit in nicely. He’d definitely offer star power, which the Knicks sorely lack.

Dallas Mavericks

Dallas has two real weaknesses: they don’t play great defense on a regular basis and they lack a truly elite point guard. Landing Rondo would kill two birds with one stone, as they’d have an elite pass-first point guard that also can lockdown the opposition. That’s pretty big for a team that has to take on the likes of Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul as they make their way through the playoffs. Dallas has acquired some solid talent and some nice contracts to make a deal like this possible.

Miami Heat

LeBron James left and Luol Deng doesn’t really give Miami a true “Big 3”, so they could be on the lookout for that third guy to help put them back over the top. They have three solid points guards, but Norris Cole is shaky and Mario Chalmers seems to think he’s a lot better than he is. They don’t have much else to give Boston, but they could send a bunch of future first rounders along with one of their point guards and maybe another player to make a deal happen. It doesn’t work out great for Boston, but Miami would probably love for this to happen.

Cleveland Cavaliers

There are a litany of teams that will be involved in Rajon Rondo trade rumors. He’s an excellent lead guard who defends extremely well, can get to the basket and get his teammates involved at a very high level. The Cavs round out the best five options, though. To this point, Kyrie Irving hasn’t been a true point guard for the Cavaliers. He’s more of a chucker and scorer and it remains to be determined if he will stick around as part of their current “Big 3”. If he’s not the answer at the point, Cleveland could swap him out of Rondo, who has championship experience and seems to be a better team player. On the flip side, the Celtics would get a superstar in return and wouldn’t see a downgrade at the lead guard spot. It’s actually oddly the best deal they could get, short of unloading Rondo to a scrub team for a ton of draft picks.

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