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November 2, 2009

Rondo, Celtics Strike Deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 12:24 pm

Taking advantage of a deadline slightly later than normal, the Boston Celtics and point guard Rajon Rondo have apparently agreed to a five-year, $55 million contract extension (as first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears). Normally, Halloween would have been the last day for teams to negotiate with players entering the final year of their rookie contracts, but the fact that Oct. 31 fell on a Saturday pushed the date back to the first business day in November, that being today.

I really like this deal for the Celtics. Rondo was as good as any point guard in the Eastern Conference last year, and at 23 he is only scratching the surface of his potential. Much was made of agent Bill Duffy‘s demand that Rondo be paid like one of the top five point guards in the league, but really this deal doesn’t get there. Six point guards are on more lucrative long-term deals, seven if you count Monta Ellis (the others are Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Deron Williams). Rondo deserves to be on the fringe of that group at this point.

WARP loves Rondo, but it suggests a starting salary of $11.3 million adjusted for next year’s projected cap. Getting home for two million less per season (his 2010-11 salary, assuming 10.5 percent raises, will be $9.1 million) is potentially a coup. That’s especially true given Rondo’s potential to become a coveted consolation prize next summer, which started to seem more real as a possibility after I first wrote about it last week. Now, Boston need no longer worry about that. Instead, the focus returns entirely to winning a second championship in three years.

Two other players got smaller extensions over the weekend–Thabo Sefolosha from Oklahoma City (a bit generous in length, but not bad for a player the Thunder really likes) and Renaldo Balkman in Denver (possibly the smallest extension ever, and a sign the Nuggets’ front office still values Balkman although he’s had a tough time selling George Karl). There still could be some more action before the deadline (midnight Eastern), with Memphis and Rudy Gay apparently still talking about a long-term deal.

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