I woke up this morning to 13 text messages. Now, I’m not a very popular guy, so 13 text messages is more or less a career high. Upon receiving the messages, my first thought was, “I hope everyone in my family’s alright.” My second thought was, “Uh-oh, I hope my girlfriend’s not mad at me.” My third thought was, “Damn, 13 text messages? I’m really blowing up.”
Well, my family’s alright, my girlfriend isn’t mad at me, and I STILL don’t have many friends. So what happened? The Rajon Rondo contract extension finally got done. Five years, $55 million for Rondo, and 13 text messages about the deal for me.
Out of everyone I know, I was probably the biggest advocate for the C’s resigning Rondo. I’ll just restate the facts, for those of you who haven’t read any of my ramblings about Rondo before. Rondo is 23 years old. He’s gotten immensely better each year, and has continued that trend into this season. He’s as confident as players come, has already PG’ed a championship team, and seems to always rise to the occasion in big games. While there was some talk about Rondo being a pain in Doc Rivers’ ass, there can be no denying that Rondo plays with unselfishness and poise rarely seen in the NBA… especially for a player so young.
As good as Rondo is now, he has the potential to be even better. Imagine him with a consistent jumper. If Rondo could consistently put it in the bucket from outside, nobody in the world would be able to guard him. He has the speed and handles to go by anybody, the vision to find open teammates, and the awareness to maintain a low turnover rate. With a jumper added to the mix? He could be scary, scary good. Already, his jumper looks way better. He finally has good form, and results might soon be on the way.
Another reason to wrap Rondo up: If they didn’t, he would have been a restricted free agent. I know the market for restricted free agents this summer was mostly dry, but next summer, with teams prepping for the vaunted summer of ’10, there will be a lot more money to go around. And if Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to stay with their own teams, that money will go to the next tier of free agents. In the NBA, teams with cap space rarely keep it for the following year. They spend it on the remaining free agents, whether they’re worth the cap space or not. (See: Detroit Pistons and Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva.) If Rondo hadn’t gotten his contract extension, then had had a good season this year (and he looks well on his way to his best season), he might have commanded a lot more on the free agent market than the Celtics got him for today. The Celtics would have been able to match any offer, but the offers might have been higher than they went today.
So rejoice, Celtics fans. The future doesn’t look as bleak. Even after the Big Three are gone, a potential superstar will be in Green for the next five years, and the Celtics got him for the very reasonable price of $11 million a year.
And me? I’m not as popular as I thought I might have been when I received 13 text messages this morning. But I’d much rather have Rondo for five years than have a few more friends.
After all, friends don’t help win championships.