Or so he will tell you. You almost believe him, too.
The new $55 million dollar contract is agreed to and settled now.
But you would never have gotten the idea that anything unusual was occurring from his pre game answers on Sunday. Here is how much of the pre-game locker room interview with a seated Rondo went.
Are you thinking about the negotiations?
Naw. I’m thinking about Chris Paul.
You’ve got the vibe on him already, I’m sure. This kid gives the appearance of being the cool cat with a soprano voice. His soft spoken demeanor only slightly veils his enormous confidence. Throw a bit of poker player in to get the whole vibe.
But he could have truly been as calm as he seemed. He was holding a winning hand anyway you want to look at it. His only question is…'Do I cash in my hand now or next year?' Either way, he is making big, big bucks.
Listening to him before the game with the Hornets, a game that Rondo tried to work Chris Paul psychologically, physically, and meta-physically, he will tell you he wasn’t worried at all about the contract negotiations.
It’s not a big deal really to me. Um…I’m going to focus on the season. Maybe if it was October 1st or before September, but no, when I’m not playing or preparing to play a game, I’m might be thinking about it I may have been thinking about it but since it didn’t happen then it’s not a big deal. I’m focused on the season.
What about tomorrow?
No. Probably not. I’ll probably think about how I played today. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. Like I said, it’s just one year. If we can’t come to terms this year hopefully it’ll be next year.
He had a good reason why. He is going to get enough in this next contract to never have to worry about money ever again in this lifetime and the next two or three if he can figure out a way to take it all with him – unless he hires Antoine Walker to manage his money.
But does he actually want to be a Celtic? He hasn’t always answered that in the affirmative in the past. His simple but clear answer gave hope and an inkling that a deal might get done…
Yeah, I wanna be a Celtic.
Have you talked to Bill Duffy? (Rondo’s Agent)
Naw, I (haven’t) talked to Duff. Talked to him like two days ago. I (haven’t) talked to him today.
How confident are you that you will remain a Celtic?
I don’t know. (much softer) I don’t know. (nervous laughter by a few)
You gotta ask uh…. This is a business so…like I said, I want to be here but…you never know what is going to happen.
So, he said a few times that he wants to be here.
And then this followed…
Do you call your agent 2-3 times a day?
Call my agent?
Naw, I (don’t) call him at all. He calls me. I mean…I don’t call him. If he has anything, he’ll call me, but other than that I don’t…I’m focused on the season. I’m not going to worry about the contract.
I had a…tough…first week. How I can just be focused on myself when I got Mo Williams, Raymond Felton, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and…. I wouldn’t be focused and it wouldn’t be fair to my team if all I was thinking was myself and my contract right now.
Rondo doesn’t often let himself be grilled for a long time like this. But I guess he and the regular beat reporters both knew that he was the big news right now.
Do you talk to guys that have been in this situation before?
Yeah, I talk to a lot of guys. Like I said, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not my last year so it’s not like I don’t have a team to go to next year.
Yeah, I’ve heard about it. They’ve told me guys who have been through a contract situation but…you have to go through it yourself to experience it. You know they can say as much as they want, but until you go through it yourself you don’t know exactly what they are talking about.
Notices New Group of Point Guards
It used to be a position that was harder to fill. A new crop of young point guards coming up are changing that.
This year you can add Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, and Jonny Flynn to young point guards with big time potential. Jennings is an early favorite as ‘diminutive stud in the making’ for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Young guys like Russell Westbrook, Aaron Brooks and Louis Williams are looking like they will make big career jumps this season. D.J. Augustin is on the way up. Sergio Rodriguez might be getting new life in Sacramento. Don’t sleep on George Hill of San Antonio either.
This is where the now famous 1 and 1A comment comes in.
Coach Byron Scott says you’re in the top 5 or 6 point guards? What do you think you’re in?
Me? One. (laughter)
I’m right now one-ish. One and a half-ish. (more laughter)
1A and 1B with Chris Paul?
1C. I’m 1-A and 1-B. Naw. I believe One one of the best, what I do. That’s it. That’s how I play. I work out. I work as hard I can to be the best so. I’m honest with myself as far as other guys. I respect a lot of other guys game.
Contray to his previous statements he gives Chris Paul props. Then he mentions the new talent…
Chris Paul is a great point guard.
There (are) a lot of us. Point guards are very good this year. Even the young guys coming up. I haven’t seen a lot of them play, but Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings for young guys are pretty good as well, so every night you have to bring it. There is not an off night at the point guard position.
Someone mentions 76er Lou Williams.
Lou Williams is pretty good. I like Lou Williams. He’s crafty. He plays defense too.
And so it went before the fireworks in and after the game against the Hornets and Chris Paul, the point guard that Rajon Rondo is taking dead aim at for top dog in the NBA.
Before the new point guards take their position among the best, there are still names like Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Baron Davis, Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, and Jose Calderon that play a pretty fair game and must be contended with.
Rondo didn’t have time to worry about a new contract. He’s got some NBA guards to keep him busy on a regular basis…and a team to run that is on it’s way towards another title run.
Actually, I was a bit surprised that Rondo signed now. I thought he wanted to see how much he could get in the open market. The Celtics decided to never let that happen. In many eyes, they may have paid a premium price for Rondo.
Now it is up to Rondo to justify that price. Another NBA title this season would be a fine start.