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You know in school when that one teacher that you really didn’t like always scheduled tests on Fridays? You studied (or at least said you did) all week, and on Friday you were ready to get the test over with and enjoy the weekend. The only thing worse than having a Friday test was having that test moved to Monday. That meant two more days of anxiety and preparation for something that should have been over and done with. Man, I hated that.
Earlier this week, the NBA became that dreaded teacher, and Rajon Rondo became you.
The NBA changed its contract extension deadline for players from the 2006 draft class from October 31 (the usual day) to November 2 this year because October 31 falls on a weekend. November 2 happens to be the next business day.
First of all, shouldn’t someone have checked the calendar months ago, noticed that the 31st falls on Saturday, and changed the date to November 2? Second, since when does the NBA operate on a “next business day” schedule? Any of the 27 teams scheduled to play this weekend (especially the Blazers, with games on both Saturday and Sunday) can attest to the fact that everyday is an NBA business day.
Regardless, the change has been made. Somewhere, Danny Ainge cringes. Now Rajon Rondo and his agent have an extra 48 hours (actually, 49 with Daylight Saving Time) to try to strike up a deal with Celtics management. Based on Rondo’s recent lax attitude about re-signing with Boston before the deadline, those 49 hours cannot pass quickly enough.
Regarding the Celtics, Rondo told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that “My agent’s got a certain number in mind and if they don’t reach that, we’ll just wait. I feel like if we win another title, obviously that helps my chances [of getting more money].” Those, sports fans, are not the words of a guy who is eager to stay put.
Rondo is after the green, and it’s not Celtic green. We’re talking dollar dollar bills, y’all. Boston allegedly offered him five years, $45 million, but he turned it down, looking for at least $10 million more.
The extra 49 hours will give Rondo more time to twiddle his thumbs while his agent and the Celtics try to reach terms. If Rajon is after the money, he has no reason to sign before the deadline. Rondo can (and will) spend this season bolstering his stats and looking to win a second NBA Championship, but not without ample help from his supporting cast. He will help the Celtics win games, but with dollar signs flashing in his beady little eyes. He said it himself – another title run will raise his asking price this off-season.
Also, by not committing to the Celtics before the deadline, Rajon opens up all kinds options for his future. If he can pick up where he left off last season and continue putting big numbers this year, that will work to his full advantage as he seeks a maximum contract. Rondo will be pretty appealing after another year of experience, and another deep playoff run will boost his stock tremendously. He has no reason to sign now, thereby limiting that stock to Boston, when he could get more money somewhere else.
No matter who is courting Rondo next season, he will be a restricted free agent, so the Celtics can keep him if they are willing to shell out the dough. That would be the ultimate flattery for a guy who seems very keen on being pursued. The Celtics have until Monday to try to buy cheap (relatively speaking), but if Rajon can hold out those 49 extra hours, he could potentially get the money that he wants and stay in Boston. It’s a win-win for him. If he gets the money that he wants and ends up somewhere like Sacramento, it’s a win-lose for him (literally), but when it’s all about the Benjamins, success ends up on the backburner.
Rondo is a great fit in Boston because he has a big margin of error (both on and off the court), relatively tolerant management, and a winning team. Despite those luxuries, last season he let his attitude and apparent indifference toward his teammates get the better of him on a 62-20 squad. I doubt that attitude and apparent indifference would fly on a team that goes 20-62, especially after a $10 million raise.
If I were in the business of making up words, I would say that Rondo is gruntled in Boston. And if he’s merely gruntled as the starting point guard for one of the best teams in the NBA, is it worth earning more money to be disgruntled somewhere else? If you ask Rajon Rondo, the answer seems to be yes.
Money will be one of Rondo’s biggest motivating factors this season, and hopefully his efforts will pay off.