Offseason Questions: Rajon Rondo | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
Red's Army

Offseason Questions: Rajon Rondo

Rondo dunks on howard One thing has been made clear on this site for quite some time: We love Rajon Rondo.  We've been saying for quite some time that he belongs in the same sentence with the other elite point guards in the league.  He's in the process of getting the keys to the team from the Big 3… and I'm excited for our future.

But that does give the Celtics a decision to make.  When do you extend his contract, and for how much?

In many respects, Rondo really IS an elite point guard.  He makes passes that seem impossible.  He can penetrate at will.  And he's always focused on getting his teammates the ball.  And he's a top notch defender.


He's still got some holes in his game… at least for now.  He can get caught gambling a little too much on defense.  His jump shot is much better… but it's not good enough to (a) always make the other team pay for using his guy to roam and double team or (b) give him enough confidence to keep shooting after he's missed a couple of J's.  Orlando used Rafer Alston to run a double at Paul Pierce 35 feet away from the hoop, and Rondo wasn't always able to take advantage.  I think all this will change in the future, but the Celtics might be able to take advantage of it now.

Rondo's got one more year on his deal before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2010.  He'll be making $2.6 million next year.  The Celtics have said they want to extend Rondo now… and I'm fully on board with that.  I don't want him out on the market in that magical 2010 free agent year when teams with all sorts of cap space will be looking for an impact player.  I can see a scenario where someone misses out on LeBron, Bosh, and Wade turns to Rondo and makes a offer too rich for the Celtics' blood.

But signing Rondo to an extension this season might just seal the fate of Ray Allen, who comes off the books after next year.  In 2010/11, Paul Pierce will be due $21.5 million dollars, and Kevin Garnett will get $18.8.  That's $40 million for two players.

As far as I know, and I'm no cap-ologist, the Celtics have the option of waiting until Rondo becomes a restricted free agent… they can sign people to fill available spots… and THEN sign him.  Because they'll have Bird rights, they can sign him to whatever without salary cap implications… but with plenty of luxury tax implications.  The risk there, if that's even a possibility, is that Rondo will fill the holes in his game and be worth even more money a year from now.

So what do we do?  Do we try to extend Rondo now at a price that we might consider a bargain in 3 years?  Do we wait until next year and take our chances with the hope that you can fill some other holes before getting stuck with no cap space?  And if you extend Rondo now, how much do you pay him?  Just for some comparison:  Chris Paul will make $13.7 mil next year, the first year of his big extension.  He'll go on to make $15.2, $16.6, and unless he opts out,  $18 mil in the final year of that deal.  Deron Williams is going to make the exact same thing.  Tony Parker with make $12.6 mil next year and $13.5 in 2010 before becoming a free agent.  According to the salary cap rules, players can get no more than an 8% raise each year.

I say you do the deal now and not take the chance.  I'd start at $10.5 mil for 2010/11, with the full 8% raise over 4 years ($11.3 in 11/12, $12.2 in 12/13, $13.2 in 13/14).  Rondo just turned 23, so that means when he's 27, he'll still get a chance at a max deal… so he's not getting screwed there.  Kevin Garnett is off the books in in the 12/13 season, so I'd even be happy to make 13/14 a player option year, since the C's theoretically would have a bunch of cap space.

What do you think?

Herald: Postseason report card  |  Thibodeau, 76'ers talk  |  Camerato:  Wiz hire Cassell as an assistant  |  Tony Allen would have started if Ray couldn't play  |   Issel's Army: Denver beats LA, evens series  |  Desperate times for the Lakers?

Like this Article? Share it!

  • CFH

    Don’t know what to think about Rondo’s situation, but
    GO NUGGETS! Behold the power of Issel’s Army!

  • Not interested at your price structure, Red, until he develops a respectable outside shot, shows up to play every night and quits taking plays off on the defensive end – one clear example is the Alston three right before halftime in game 7. Those numbers are too much for a guy who doesn’t play hard every night.
    If they’ll do an extension at about $8 million, then sign me up. Otherwise, I’m waiting a year.

  • BigMck

    I agree with Bo….keep him in the 8-10 million range.
    I’m started to get annoyed with his gambling defense. There isn’t a guard in the league he can’t stay in front of. Pressure the ball!

  • The playoffs, actually, were a pretty intriguing look at what Rondo can be – which is an elite NBA point guard, which he clearly is not yet – and what he isn’t – a solid, hard-working guy at both ends of the court.
    If Rondo had Kevin Garnett’s intensity, I’d extend him at any cost.
    But he doesn’t. His defense and his work ethic in the Orlando series weren’t good enough, and I frankly want to see him elevate both before the Celtics over-invest in a player who looks for all the world ready for a post-extension letdown.

  • G4L

    You gotta extend him

  • Charles

    Keeping Rondo is biggest priority for the Celtics. If they don’t, they only have one more year left with him and then rebuild time.
    Read more here:

  • rcry

    I don’t know if this is true for that particular play, but part of why Rondo looked so bad defensively during the Orlando series was because of Boston’s defensive schemes to contain Dwight Howard. I remember Doc saying in one of the pregame or postgame interviews that they’re purposely having Rondo help out on Dwight so that our bigs wouldn’t get into foul trouble… I don’t know how well that worked out, but it definitely made Alston look like an all star in the latter games, especially when his shots started falling…
    Rondo definitely needs an outside shot though. And while I think he does play to win every night, he needs to learn to bring the energy all game, every game.

  • FSantos33

    The Big Questions aren’t what we think or What the Celtics are willing to pay Rondo. The Big Question is… What does Rondo think? What is his agent feeding in his ear? Does it make business sense for Rondo to extend his contract this summer? Why should he agree to an extension when Rondo knows there are teams out there in 2010 that might possibly pay him more dough. Just another way of looking at it.

  • I temporarily bleed nugget gold in L.A.

    Where’s the love? This is Issel’s army right? GO NUGGS!!
    Rondo needs a jumpshot, period. If BBD can develop a solid jumper in an offseason, Rajon can too. And he needs to prove it before getting a bigger contract. So prove it next year Rondo, please!

  • My recollection, though, is that phenomenon was relatively spotty.
    We broke down a bunch defensively on the perimeter in the Orlando series, and Rondo was among the culprits. His defense tends to be wildly overrated by Celtic Internet Fan anyway, but he’s got the tools. Just not the desire to do it on every possession.
    Rondo can be great. He’s not great yet, and I’m not at all in favor of paying him elite PG money until he earns the designation.

  • I really don’t fear Rondo and his agent wanting to wait until 2010, and I’m certainly not in favor of overpaying him out of fear what might happen in 2010.
    $8 large is pretty close to his actual value in the marketplace, IMO. Offer him an extension based on that number.
    If he doesn’t take it, great. Tell him we’ll revisit a larger number next year – if he elevates his effort, shooting and defense to earn it.

  • FSantos33

    Monte Ellis scenario – Last summer Ellis signed for 60 million for 6 years. This dude hasn’t proved anything just lots of hype. If Ellis is worth 10 M per year what do you think Rondo’s agent is going to ask for? At least 12 M per I would imagine.

  • BigMck

    I think you are under-rating Ellis. He’s a helluva scorer. Kinda hard to “prove” yourself when you play for the Warriors.

  • Lakerhater

    It would be nice to tie Rondo up now, but…we all know players elevate their game in a contract year. C’s will be making a run next year, a motivated point guard would be great. I agree with the jumper comments, but the first shot he needs to improve is on the foul line. He missed to many charity shots this year.