Posted on: November 2, 2009 10:12 am
Edited on: November 2, 2009 1:49 pm
The Celtics' $55 million game of poker with Rajon Rondo is over. After two weeks of posturing, the two sides have agreed to a five-year extension that will keep the point guard from becoming a restricted free agent next summer, a person familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com on Monday.
The $55 million extension came hours before a midnight Tuesday deadline for 2006 draft picks to sign extensions with their current teams. The lone high-profile holdout is Rudy Gay, whose representatives have continued to work with GM Chris Wallace on getting a deal done.
UPDATE: Only a week ago, it seemed that Celtics president Danny Ainge and Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, were too far apart to get a deal in place before the league-imposed deadline. As a matter of procedure, the Oct. 31 deadline was extended through Monday, the next official business day.
Ainge and Duffy met at halftime of the Celtics' opener at Cleveland on Oct. 27, and things seemed bleak. Ainge told Duffy he was interested in completing a deal, but wanted Duffy to move off his desire for a contract averaging north of $10 million annually.
"And I said, 'Danny, I don’t know if we’re gonna move,'" Duffy said in a telephone interview Monday. "'I respect where you're coming from. If you have any other thoughts or ideas, I'm open to it.'" You have to give him credit. He stuck with it."
Still, no substantive talks took place until Sunday, when Duffy called Ainge to let him know Rondo was prepared to play out the scenario and hit the restricted market next July. According to Duffy, Ainge told him he'd ask owner Wyc Grousbeck to sign off on the five-year, $55 million deal, which was being finalized Monday afternoon.
Rondo, who will turn 24 in February, has the Celtics off to a 4-0 start marked by the return of Kevin Garnett from knee surgery and the addition of free agent Rasheed Wallace. But for all the firepower presented by Wallace and the Big Three, Rondo makes the Celtics go. But some issues had to be resolved first. Ainge and coach Doc Rivers had publicly and privately challenged Rondo to become more of a leader during the offseason. The remarks prompted widespread speculation that Rondo would be traded rather than given an extension offer.
Before the Celtics' season opener in Cleveland last week, Rondo admitted that the extension deadline was "crazy timing," but vowed to push the distraction out of his mind as the Celtics opened their pursuit of an 18th NBA championship. "It'll take care of itself," Rondo said. "I've just got to worry about doing my job."
UPDATE: Duffy said it would've been human nature for Rondo to let the contract situation affect his play.
"As much as a player would say that it’s not an issue, he’s a human being, so it’d have to be in the back of his mind," Duffy said. "But that being said, more than most athletes I've worked with, I don’t think it would’ve affected him much at all because he’s so focused and so competitive. I think he would've used it as a motivator as opposed to feeling insecure about his future."
With Ray Allen becoming an unrestricted free agent after the season and Paul Pierce possessing a player option, the Rondo signing removes some of the uncertainty about how the Celtics will move forward after they finish chasing their second title in three years. Garnett and Wallace are both signed for two more seasons after this one.
And after the upheaval surrounding Rondo this past summer, the extension is all the proof you need that the Celtics have decided that Rondo has grown up enough to lead them into the post-Big Three era. Whether Rondo, who plays best with a grudge, will continue that trend with his future decided is an open question. When he's playing with abandon and chippiness -- as he did Sunday night in a 97-87 victory over the Hornets -- Rondo is at his best. When his hopes of getting an extension withered about a week ago, I thought there was the potential for that to be positive for both sides. Rondo would play with even more nastiness, and that would only benefit the Celtics, who have a veteran team that needs to win another title before the window of opportunity closes.
My answer seemed to come from Rondo's contentious battle with New Orleans counterpart Chris Paul on Sunday night. After Duffy and Ainge agreed in principle before the game, Rondo went into full agitator mode against Paul. Both players got technicals after a tussle under the basket, and they exchanged words and had to be separated after the final buzzer. Paul won the battle of the box score with 22 points, eight assists, and two steals. Rondo had six points, 10 assists, and three steals -- but his team won the game.
That pretty much defines Rondo, one of the rising point guards in the NBA. It defines his team, too. No organization has won more championships than the Celtics, who know a winner when they see one.
Posted on: October 30, 2009 9:22 am
The looming deadline for extending the contracts of 2006 draft picks presents an intriguing dilemma for the Celtics -- and for Rajon Rondo.
Posted on: October 27, 2009 7:59 am
Edited on: October 27, 2009 7:18 pm
CLEVELAND -- It appears that Rajon Rondo will take the floor for the season opener in Cleveland Tuesday night with the knowledge that he won't get the contract extension from the Celtics that he's been seeking.
Posted on: October 21, 2009 10:59 pm
The Trail Blazers entered the offseason not knowing whether they'd be able to work out contract extensions with Brandon Roy or LaMarcus Aldridge, the two pillars of a team on the rise. Now, they've got both off them done -- or close to it.
Posted on: June 23, 2009 5:02 pm
Even when a reputable, tireless, connected NBA reporter comes out with a trade that was discussed -- and goes to great lengths to make it clear that it was discussed and went nowhere -- the story is met with derision.
This is why the trade deadline and the draft are my least favorite times of year. It's hard enough to separate the fact from the fiction. When facts get thrown in the paper-shredder with yesterday's mail, it becomes even more confusing.
Fact: The Pistons and Celtics discussed a trade whose primary pieces included Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen going to Detroit for Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. Also fact: It never got to the point of being discussed by the men who ultimately would've made the decision, Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars.
Also fact: This is the way it was reported by Yahoo! Sports Tuesday -- as a dead-end proposal that went nowhere. And yet everyone comes out of the woodwork now to say what a bad idea it would've been for both teams.
No kidding. That's why it didn't go anywhere.
"Very preliminary," was how my source described it.
But this is the world in which we live. It's great and thrilling and competitive, and it's also quite stupid sometimes.
But I digress.
The fact that the names Allen and Rondo would even be discussed in a Celtics trade scenario tells you something. For one, it tells you that teams are willing to discuss trading anybody, no matter what they say. Discussing and doing are two very different things. But it also tells you that the Celtics, who meandered through the wilderness for years before scoring Allen and Kevin Garnett in two perfect-storm trade scenarios, have no desire to get lost like that ever again. And when you look at some of the numbers on their books going forward -- Garnett and Paul Pierce owed more than $40 million in 2010-11 -- you can understand why they'd at least discuss a scenario that would soften the landing.
But when I see Stuckey's name in this scenario, I'm not so sure it was the Celtics who walked away before elevating the discussion to the top executives. The Pistons traded Chauncey Billups because A) It gave them massive amounts of cap space; and B) They had Stuckey. Can't see them trading him now.
For his part, Ainge met with the Boston area media at the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., Tuesday morning and got right to work debunking the Pistons trade talk.
"I've heard speculation we're dissatisfied with [Rondo]," Ainge said. "We're going to trade him because he was late for a playoff game? That's not true. The first criteria that any trade rumor has to pass: Is it going to help us win a championship this year?"
Ainge, who has the 58th pick in the draft, also said this, according to the Celtics' official Twitter page: "Most of the players in the first round I wouldn't trade for J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker."
Ouch. A lot of future D-League All-Stars and slam-dunk champions available, which explains why almost every team in the top 10 after the Clippers is looking to trade down.
Basically, it is why every team is willing to explore anything over the next 48 hours.
"It could be crazy," one Eastern Conference GM said of the trades that could go down Thursday night.
One way or another, it always is.
Posted on: June 22, 2009 12:49 pm
Some good pre-draft buzz from SportsRadioInterviews.com, plus a semi-commitment from Phil Jackson to return for one more title run with the Lakers.
Jackson hasn't committed to coming back for the final year of his contract, and he has a loose deadline with management to inform the team of his intentions in the next 2-3 weeks. In this radio interview, Jackson repeats that he has some medical issues that must be resolved before he decides, but adds, "I’d still like to push on through another year if possible.”
You can also find transcripts and audio clips of Memphis GM Chris Wallace saying he has no qualms about picking Ricky Rubio at No. 2 without working him out ... Brandon Jennings having no regrets about bypassing college to play in Europe ... Stephen Curry saying he thinks he's going to the Knicks ... and Rajon Rondo addressing trade rumors.
Posted on: May 1, 2009 6:29 pm
The NBA reviewed video Friday of the scuffle between the Celtics' Rajon Rondo and Bulls' Kirk Hinrich and took no further action, ensuring that the two guards will be available Saturday for Game 7 of their epic first-round series Saturday.
The flagrant foul called on Rondo for tossing Hinrich into the scorer's table and then throwing an elbow that didn't connect, and the technical foul assessed to Hinrich for rushing Rondo and shoving him, "stand as called," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.
It's the right decision because nobody threw or connected with a punch, and neither player took any action to escalate the violence beyond the initial Heat-of-the-moment skirmish. Those are key criteria league officials use in deciding whether to upgrade flagrant one fouls to flagrant twos, and whether to issue suspensions.
Had crew chief Joey Crawford hit Rondo with a flagrant foul, penalty two, he would've been automatically ejected from Game 6, won by the Bulls 128-127 in triple overtime. The league office didn't single out this altercation for review. All flagrant fouls are reviewed to determine if the game officials made the right call.
Posted on: May 1, 2009 1:59 am
Edited on: May 1, 2009 3:18 am
CHICAGO -- It had all the potential to be the ugliest incident in this physical, tense series. The Celtics' Rajon Rondo, already at the center of a controversy stemming from his blow to Brad Miller's head at the end of Game 5, got tangled up with Kirk Hinrich while trying to rebound Stephon Marbury's errant 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the first quarter Thursday night.
Rondo threw Hinrich into the scorer's table, one of those "wanton acts of violence" commissioner David Stern is always talking about. Hinrich, tough as nails, popped up and bolted toward Rondo. With his arms close to his chest, Hinrich shoved Rondo, who appeared to raise his right arm or elbow in an attempt to swing at Hinrich. He never connected, either because he thought better of it or because referee Ed Mallory had grabbed his arm. We won't know Rondo's take until Saturday; he was the last player out of the showers in the Celtics' locker room and did not speak with reporters.
"I was just boxing him out and he tried to throw me to the side," Hinrich said. "I pushed him, so I guess they looked at it and gave him a flagrant and gave me a technical. I just shoved him."
Crew chief Joe Crawford reviewed the replay and assessed a flagrant foul, penalty one to Rondo and a technical foul to Hinrich. A flagrant two would've resulted in an automatic ejection and a Celtics loss that wouldn't have taken three overtimes. Rondo had 19 assists and no turnovers in the Bulls' 128-127 victory, and he was pivotal in the Celtics' 23-3 run that began when he subbed back into the game with Ray Allen with 10:16 left in the fourth.
Hinrich said Rondo didn't punch him, but it will be another busy day at the league office sorting out this incident. No suspensions are expected, largely because both players stopped their aggression after the initial collision and took no escalating action.
"It’s playoff basketball and you're going to have run-ins like that and it happens," Hinrich said. "... I kind of shoved him and then I don’t know who stepped between us. I'd have to look at it. It kind of happened real fast. I don’t think he threw a punch at me. It’s one of those things where you get caught up in the moment and you try to catch yourself and bring yourself back down."