With the news that Rajon Rondo has torn his ACL and will be out for the season, there are a number of questions that need to be answered. An injury of this magnitude to a player of Rondo's status sends shockwaves throughout the entire NBA.
What does this mean for the Celtics?
Obviously, the Boston Celtics are the team most impacted by Rondo's injury. He was the undisputed leader of their offense and virtually everything that they did offensively ran through Rondo's hands. Without Rondo, the Celtics will have to do look for offensive continuity in other ways. Although Rondo isn't the best scorer, he added consistency and order to an already below average offensive team.
Doc Rivers has already said that when Rondo is out of the game, the Celtics can run only about a third of their plays. With Rondo out for the rest of the season, the coaching staff might need to do more than just look for way to cover up the loss of Rondo. A full-scale restructuring of the offensive philosophy may be needed until Rondo recovers from his surgery. After all, Boston isn't going to find someone else who can do what Rondo can do.
What does this mean for the Eastern Conference playoff picture?
Prior to Sunday's game against the Heat, the Celtics had a 2-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers for the 8th seed in the East. Without Rondo, the Celtics will presumably win fewer games than they would have for the rest of the season. Andrew Bynum is apparently nearing a comeback from his injuries. The loss of Rondo and return of Bynum could set-up a dogfight between the Celtics and Sixers for that final playoff spot.
Beyond the Sixers, several other Eastern Conference teams are close enough to threaten for the playoffs. It's certainly possible that the 8th seed could go to a team with a sub-.500 record and the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors could also be in the mix.
What does this mean for the trade market?
Considering the recovery timeline for an ACL tear, the Celtics should expect to be without Rondo for at least part of next season as well. There is plenty of speculation around the league that this news will mean that Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and virtually any other Celtics player is now on the trading block.
It could be argued that the Celtics ought to just "blow it up" and start to acquire younger talent and draft picks to rebuild once Rondo gets healthy. Teams looking to add talent for the playoff push will surely be making phone calls to Danny Ainge and the Celtics.
What does this mean for the All Star Game?
Rajon Rondo was voted into the All Star starting lineup by the fans. With him now out, that opens up a spot on the roster and in the starting lineup. Common sense would tell you that the void in the starting lineup will be filled by either Jrue Holiday or Kyrie Irving.