Annual breakdown of Rondo's $55 million deal:
'10-11: $9.09 mil
'11-12: $10.04 mil
'12-13: $11 million
'13-14: $11.9 million
'14-15: $12.9 million
The $9.09 million help alleviate some of the luxury tax hit… but the C's can fill out a good roster next year. They've got 6 people under contract for sure (Pierce, KG, Sheed, Rondo, Baby, Perk). I see the team packaging Scal and TA for a longer term deal by the deadline to fill a gap and make it 7. Ray Allen will be re-signed to make it 8. Split the MLE into two pieces to bring in players 9 and 10. Also, this is Eddie House's 3rd year with the team… so they've got Bird rights on him if they want to re-sign him this summer to make it 11. And then you can fill out the last few spots with veteran minimum guys and draft picks.
The C's are going to take a luxury tax hit next year no matter what. Might as well keep the band together and see what they can do. If they need to give Marquis Daniels part of that MLE next year… or all of it… then fine (we'll see how we feel about that later). Paul Pierce could, theoretically, not exercise his option next season and take, say, 3 years, $39 million rather than the $21 mil. next year and then whatever. That saves the C's $7 million in his salary plus another $7 million in tax hit. Pierce gets guaranteed another $18 million in the deal.
The bottom line is, they have the tools to make another run. The window doesn't have to close this season.