With news reports surrounding Rajon Rondo’s future with the Celtics appearing in the last few days, first from Danny Ainge on 98.5 The Sports Hub and then via Chris Broussard on ESPN Insider- had this report yesterday:
Though he is not looking to get out of Boston, Rajon Rondo was quick to kill talk of an extension when recently approached by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. It didn’t even get to the numbers stage. Rondo is looking forward to becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in the summer of 2015. It’s not that he’s dead set on leaving Boston, but he wants to keep his options open in terms of both winning and money. Ainge has to decide whether he wants to gamble on the possibility of re-signing Rondo or trade him around the 2014 draft or before next season’s trade deadline.
So what was Rajon Rondo’s response to the report today at practice? His response was telling:
Upon being asked about the report, Rondo responded with a blunt “Already?” to the question about his contract, but saying he had no response to the report.
Things got more interesting from there in the Q-and-A.
Reporter: Is free agency something that intrigues you?
Rondo: “It is.”
Reporter: Something you’ve thought about?
Rondo: “I haven’t thought about it. I’ve just thought about getting my leg as strong as possible, continue to shake off the rust this year and come back even better next.”
What about free agency intrigues you?
“It’s kind of like, I would say, maybe college recruiting. I’m pretty sure a lot more goes into it in the NBA. A lot more money is spent. I’ve heard stories, guys getting called right at midnight. It’s something that I haven’t experienced. I may want to go through it. I haven’t thought about it at all.”
Rondo exploring free agency makes plenty of sense for him. He won’t be signing an extension (barring another major injury) this year or next year, since he’d be costing himself additional money in a deal. The recruiting element though does add another layer of intrigue. Just like Danny Ainge is trying to re-tool this roster now for the future, Rondo is watching to see if he likes the weapons that may be playing alongside him for the rest of his career.
If another team makes a strong play for him though, and the Celtics have another tough season next year, watch out.