Celtics GM Danny Ainge isn’t shopping Rajon Rondo, but he isn’t turning away calls, either, sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Still, Ainge has consistently rejected offers for the All-Star point guard, according to Berger. The only time the Celtics came close to trading Rondo was in a deal that would have landed them Chris Paul, Berger writes, presumably referring to a 2011 proposal.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders gets the sense from his time around the C’s that they want to keep Rondo around and gauge how well he can become a leader. It’s a role they envisioned for their newly appointed captain before the departures of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, so it appears they’re invested in him for at least the foreseeable future. A weekend report from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News nonetheless indicated that executives around the league believe the C’s will try to trade Rondo at the deadline or before the draft in June. That echoes what Chad Ford of ESPN.com wrote last week.
Rondo has been at the center of several rumors since the Garnett/Pierce trade this summer, but most of the recent suggestions that he’s on the block appear to be coming from outside the Celtics organization. Ainge has been steadfast that Rondo isn’t a trade candidate, so perhaps the idea that he could be on the move is just wishful thinking from other teams.
Rondo’s contract runs through next season, when he’ll make a little more than $12.9MM, a bargain for a top point guard. It’s unlikely he’ll sign an extension, Berger writes, noting the limitations in the latest collective bargaining agreement that make it unappealing for most star players to do so. Berger says that Rondo can only add two years to his deal if he signs an extension this summer, and while he can actually add up to three years via extension come July, it would nonetheless be to Rondo’s advantage to wait until he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2015. Then, he could re-sign with the C’s for up to five seasons, or ink a deal for as many as four years with another team.