Rajon Rondo is going to be a Celtic for at least one more year. Everyone involved hopes to see him around a lot longer. They have begun talks on a contract extension and had a "great conversation" last week. I'm hoping it gets done sooner rather than later, but I understand that these things take time and it may require letting him hit the market. Here's what both sides had to say yesterday.
When asked how talks were coming, Rondo said, "Ask my agent. "I don’t really think about that, I just try to focus on camp,’’ he said. "If it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. If not, I’ll play it out. I want to be wherever I’m wanted the next 10 years. If Danny wants me, I’ll be here the next 10 years.’’
Ainge’s comments ran along the same lines. "Our intention is to have Rondo as our franchise point guard for a decade,’’ he said. "And I think Rondo wants to be here for a long time as well. So these things are just about dollar amounts. But it has no bearing on where we are with him, how we feel about him, or our intentions. It’s just, we may do something in October and we may do something next summer - we’ll have the ability to match. Just play that by ear.’’
Ainge said he met with Rondo and his agent, Bill Duffy, last week and had a "great conversation.’’ Rondo said, "I have sat down with Danny, but we didn’t speak about contract, we talked about expectations for the season. I try to focus on trying to get a ring. Got to get one this year. I don’t think [the contract] will be on my mind; I won’t allow it to affect me when I play. But, of course, everyone wants security and it would be great if I could sign now. But the focus is the ring. I’ll let my agent handle the contract and just play.’’
For his part, Rondo has worked on his game and on his body this summer, adding 11 pounds of muscle to his frame.
"All muscle, all muscle," the Celtics point guard said yesterday, glancing with pride at his enlarged biceps. "I’m weighing 184.6, maybe 186.7. I’m 23, I’m eating better, and I worked harder in the weight room. Weights, eating three meals a day and no McDonald’s."
If you are looking for a date to circle on your calendar, try Oct. 31. If a deal isn't done by then, Rondo will become a restricted free agent after the season. Restricted means the team can match any offer. Nobody is sure just what the free agent market is going to be like next year with all the stars hitting the market but economic worries still looming. I am pretty confident that the Celtics would match whatever offer he could get on the market next year, but I'd rather both sides came to an agreement everyone is happy with sooner rather than later to avoid the drama and distraction of a contract year and the prospect of free agency.
Ainge said Ray Allen’s expiring contract will not be addressed in the short-term.
"We’ve had no discussions with Ray. We kind of have the whole year to discuss a contract with Ray, whereas there is (an option) deadline with Rondo on October 31st."