Despite undergoing surgery on his hand after a freak fall in the shower, Rajon Rondo was pretty quick to answer when asked if he felt he was a max contract player, but his performance this season will go a long way towards the answer.
With four all-star nods, two assist titles, one steals title, one just plain ol’ NBA title, and his youth — he’s only 28 years old — Rondo seems like a natural max player. It’s no surprise Rondo agrees, per Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe:
General manager Danny Ainge, who will decide whether Rondo gets an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline (he won’t), or whether he’s re-signed this summer to a five-year deal (other teams can only offer four), agrees, per Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News:
Except, Rondo’s shown he can sometimes rub people the wrong way both on and off the court. The C’s are currently in full rebuild mode, which is why everyone’s waiting to see what the finished product looks like on the court.
After Rondo broke the third metacarpal bone in his let hand, it changed the timeline before we even see the full squad with Rajon as the helmsman. Then again, he told the CSNNE.com’s Mike Gorman, “Hopefully, I don’t miss any time.”
If he does miss time, Marcus Smart will gladly take over the starting point guard duties. Many envision the heralded rookie point guard out of Oklahoma State as their point guard of the future if Rondo is dealt or leaves in free agency next summer.
As Ainge told Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com, both Rondo and the Celtics have something to prove to one another before any deal can be agreed upon (it’s why an extension just isn’t going to happen in time).
If Rondo doesn’t get an extension — again, which is highly likely — the Celtics can re-sign him to a much larger contract next summer, similar to the position the Knicks were last season with Carmelo Anthony.
With the cap expected to reach $66.3 million next year, the Celtics can offer Rondo nearly $107 million over five years, with the first year starting at a little more than $18.6 million. Other teams can only offer Rondo a shade under $80 million over four years.
Any doubts about Rondo’s abilities to be a max player, especially into his 30s — when the vast majority of point guards, not named Steve Nash, can fall off — are cushioned by a new TV rights deal expected to nearly double to $15 billion, which would significantly increase the salary cap and luxury tax threshold.
So Ainge and company wouldn’t really be limited if Rondo signed a max deal; they could still afford to add pieces, something Ainge has talked to Rondo about.
Still, this is a big year for Rondo and the Celtics to see if their sometimes rocky partnership continues past the 2014-15 season.
Is Rondo a max player?
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