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Deveney: Rondo and Celtics on the same page

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Another report has surfaced from Sean Deveney of The Sporting News confirming Rondo's intention to stay in Boston to start the season and the Celtics' plan to wait until next summer to make a decision on their prized point guard.

Jim Rogash

Here's the meat of Deveney's article:

Sources on both sides disputed the suggestion that emerged this weekend that Rondo had requested a trade from the Celtics - it is still his intention to play out his contract in Boston, and it's still the Celtics intention to begin the season with him as the starting point guard.

That, of course, could change. Despite entertaining offers for Rondo for the better part of three years, the Celtics have not gotten an offer that worth pursuing significantly. If something did crop up that would bring in a young potential superstar, the Celtics would have to reconsider their stance against dealing Rondo - but with Rondo posting only so-so-numbers as he completed his rehab last year, his value is relatively low just now.

So, Ainge isn't exactly saying that Rondo is the future of the franchise and Rondo has publicly stated that he wants to test free agency, but for now and at least for the foreseeable future (say, until December or the February trade deadline), Rondo is the starting point guard of the Boston Celtics.  Deveney suggests that both stances could change quickly.  If the Celtics labor through a tough November, a .500 record would be a big surprise.  Would that be enough for Rondo to sign an extension and forgo getting wined and dined in July?  Probably not.  What if Boston comes out of the gates struggling and finishes off the first month with only a handful of wins and enters the new year as lottery bound?  Could a growing relationship with Brad Stevens and a trust with Danny Ainge convince Rondo to spend his professional prime with the franchise that drafted him?  Maybe.

As Tom Ziller astutely notes in today's Hook, there are parallels to Rondo's situation and Pierce's dilemma in 2006 when the Celtics were seemingly going nowhere.  Both had previously stated that they wanted to retire as Celtics despite the fact that their teams were in the process of long rebuilds.  Pierce would sign a three-year extension that July, cementing his faith in Ainge who would a year later create the Big Three and propel PP to become Finals MVP the following spring.  But that was then and this is now and the NBA is different.

For Rondo, there's more money at the end of the rainbow if he waits until his current contract expires and that's seemingly a risk that he (and Ainge) are willing to take.  If everything remains relatively status quo until July 2015, Ainge will have another chance to do for Rondo what he did for Pierce.  He showed a willingness to cash in young assets to bring in Kevin Love and next summer, there will be a bevy of free agents that Ainge could pair with Rondo with cap space finally opening up.

What gets largely ignored in all the Rondo noise is the matter of his current teammates. Armchair GM's and members of the quick fix fan base want to create a super team with Rondo like he's one half of the Super Twins. They see Pierce's early career plight as a blueprint in how to make a career Celtic into a champion, but Pierce and Rondo are very different. I love Paul and this isn't a knock on him, but he was always a scorer first who needed a complementary squad built around him. Ainge helped Pierce shoulder the burden with other scorers like Antoine Walker, Ricky Davis, and Antoine Walker again, but that was never going to be a winning formula. It wasn't until Garnett came in to be middle linebacker of the defense and Ray was inserted into the lineup as the ultimate #2 release valve on the perimeter that Pierce really elevated his game.  With Pierce, he was never going to necessarily make his teammates better, but he certainly could have collectively been part of a rising tide that lifts all boats.

With Rondo, it's a different matter.  Rondo is a pure point guard and his sole purpose (often times, to his own and to his team's detriment) is to make the players around him better.  I wouldn't be surprised that if deep down, Rondo didn't relish the fact that the Kevin Love trade never happened and he'd be captain of a fairly young team.  For Pierce, seeing the revolving door of first round picks crash and burn in front of him only fed his frustration and his longing for Ainge to bring in a vet that could help him out.  I think Rondo's situation is different.  Malcontent scorers can try and score more and that usually doesn't lead to more wins.  Malcontent point guards can point guard more and I'll bet that does add up to more W's.

Rondo sees the potential in Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, the chance to spend a full season with Avery Bradley and Jeff Green, and the media-driven pressure of Danny drafting Marcus Smart to take his place and he thinks like a good point guard thinks: I'm going to make this work.  That's the Larry Bird in Rondo that's immeasurable when we're talking about whether or not he's a max player.  He was the driving force of that 2012 team that took the Heat to the brink before LeBron won his first championship in Miami.  That roster was riddled with injuries and yet, Rondo made it work.  He may not be able to work that magic with next year's Celtics, but I can't wait to see him be KG and be Pierce to this young squad.