Celtics sign Marcus Smart, Rondo likes his competiveness

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, the Celtics signed #6 Marcus Smart. Rajon Rondo has a few words about the fellow point guard.

Shouldn't be big news that the Celtics signed the #6, but as NESN's Ben Watanabe points out, it does trigger a few limitations:

Because the Celtics almost always give their first-round picks 120 percent of the rookie scale - the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement - it's a virtually certainty that Smart will make approximately $3.28 million this season.

(The first-year scale salary for the No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft is $2.736 million, according to the NBA Salary Cap FAQ. So, 2.736 x 1.20 = 3.28)

What this also means - other than making Smart a very rich man - is that any deal involving Smart for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is on hold. NBA rules prohibit a team from trading a draft pick until 30 days after his signing (see rule 99), which means Smart cannot be traded until Aug. 5. What this also means is that the Celtics cannot acquire Love and then subsequently use the $10.3 million trade exception they received in last year's deal with the Brooklyn Nets to add a secondary piece. The trade exception expires Saturday, one year after the date the trade officially went through.

There were reports this weekend that Ainge was still in hot pursuit to make a deal for Kevin Love and although this deal would seemingly throw water on those fires, it's possible that any deal for KLove would not include Smart with Flip Saunders targeting future draft picks rather than those already spent.  Minnesota still has Ricky Rubio at the point...

...and the Celtics still have Rajon Rondo.  It's been relatively radio silent from the team captain since the team redundantly drafted Smart at his position, but the Globe's Baxter Holmes caught up with RR and asked him about Smart and the team's direction:

"I think we got some good picks, some really good picks," Rondo said. "What I like about Smart is that he competes. He kind of reminds me [of myself]. I like the guys that compete and remind me of myself, guys like [Kendrick Perkins]. That's not to say that nobody on the team this year didn't compete. Avery [Bradley] is one of the best competitors that we have in this league.

"But not a lot of young guys come in and you can get that feel right away that they will compete. So I think that's a big pickup for us in that aspect. I think having a guy on the wing that will defend along with Avery and myself, and has a lot more size and strength, that will be big."

I love that Rondo compared Smart to himself, Kendrick Perkins, and Avery Bradley, but check out the rest of Holmes' sit down with Rondo.  Maybe I'm reading between the lines, but there just seems to be a disconnect between him and management right now and it's more than just the general "basketball is a business" rhetoric.  He refers to the team as "the Celtics" and not "we."  Rondo's an odd Bird (pun intended) and this could just be another cagey interview from a guy that has a notoriously punchy relationship with the media, but he does win me over when he talks about mentoring Phil Pressey:

"I've had a lot of guys that I've tried to help their game, but Phil Pressey is probably the first one, like an actual point guard that knows the game, a true point that makes decisions out there, [that I've worked with]," Rondo said.

He added, "When I watch the game, I see what decisions [a point guard] makes vs. what decisions I would make. [Pressey] makes a lot of good decisions. He's a little flashy here and there, but I am. Or I was. He has a great eye."

"Or I was?"  What does that mean?  Is the Rondo behind-the-back fake gone for good?  Or does that mean he won't be doing it in a Celtics uniform anymore?  Dude stresses me out.

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