Just because the Pistons acquired Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks doesn’t mean they’ve lost interest in Rajon Rondo. In fact, they could eventually use Jennings as a trade chip and seek to acquire Rondo. There are going to be several interested parties in Rondo, and that number could increase when he shows he’s fully recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery
Of course, the Pistons still have interest in Rajon Rondo. The Pistons want Rondo, as do other teams, because he’s one of the NBA’s best point guards. The Pistons acquiring Brandon Jennings has absolutely no bearing on that.
Upgrading from Brandon Knight to Jennings was a helpful step, mostly, given the Pistons’ objectives, because Jennings can help immediately. If the Celtics aren’t yet ready to trade Rondo, who’s a much better player than Jennings, at least Jennings can help the Pistons win early in the season. In what figures to be a crowded race for the Eastern Conference’s final few playoff spots, every win matters. Even if the Pistons would be a better team with Rondo than Jennings, they’ll probably have a better record with Jennings for a full season than a chance at half a year of Rondo.
Perhaps, that could become half a season of Jennings and half a season of Rondo, though. Jennings likely will hold more value than Knight would have in a trade – though it’s unclear whether the rebuilding Celtics would want the higher-priced and better player.
Jennings can be used in a multi-player trade two months after the sign-and-trade became official, and it’s not yet clear when that is. He can be traded by himself immediately, and the Pistons and Celtics could potentially structure a larger trade as technically multiple smaller trades.
With Jennings in tow, the Pistons have more leverage in trade talks for Rondo. But Rondo is still really, really good. Some things have changed, but others have not, including the Pistons’ wanting one of the league’s top point guards.