NBA / Oct 28, 2009 / 2:53 pm

The case for paying Rajon Rondo

(photo. Christian Kozowyck)

(photo. Christian Kozowyck)

I like being proven right. So right now I’m liking Paul Pierce, who did his part last night to prove me right for ranking him the NBA’s 3rd-best go-to guy, ahead of crowd favorites LeBron and Carmelo. But lost in the beauty that was a vintage Truth performance was the fact that Pierce was only finishing what Rajon Rondo started.

You see, in the first quarter of Celtics/Cavs, Boston was getting blasted. Cleveland couldn’t miss: Anderson Varejao was hitting fadeaweays, Anthony Parker was dropping step-back threes with a man in his face, and LeBron was sticking 30-footers like they were free throws. At one point, Boston was down 13-2, then 19-5; by all rights it looked like Opening Night was going to be one for blowouts.

Then Rondo got involved. As if putting a notary public stamp on the “I’m not a role player anymore” statement he made in the ’09 playoffs, and getting this year’s “Somebody better pay me” campaign out of the blocks, Rondo was the spark that got Boston’s offense out of bed. Midway through the quarter he scored on two straight possessions, then assisted Pierce on a three, then set up Kevin Garnett for an easy layup, then dimed Rasheed for another three. All of a sudden, it was a ballgame, Boston had some momentum, and would eventually grab the lead in the second quarter on their way to a win.

If all you saw were the highlights — where Rondo was most notable for getting his dunk attempt assassinated by LeBron — you wouldn’t have realized his impact on the game. If you only saw the box score, where he put up a modest eight points, 10 assists, six boards and three steals, you might have missed it as well. But if you were watching, you saw just how important Rondo is to the Celtics. Pierce is still the most valuable player, Garnett is the emotional heart and soul, Ray Allen is like the big-play receiver in crunch time, and Rasheed will lead the second unit. But Rondo is the firestarter.

Danny Ainge was watching. The day after it was reported that talks between Ainge and Rondo’s agent on a contract extension had stalled, today it’s being reported that they’re back on. Maybe it wasn’t just because of last night’s performance, but it couldn’t have hurt.

It reminds me of the Danny Granger deal last year. Going into opening night, the Pacers hadn’t yet reached an agreement on an extension for their future franchise player. Granger went out and dropped 33 points on the Pistons in the opener, and next thing you know, he’s putting his signature on a deal worth more than $50 million.

With these extension talks taking place in the offseason, when so much is based on perception and recent memories, sometimes you can buy into your own arguments against paying out a large amount of money. And sometimes it takes a dose of reality in the form of a real game to remind you why the asking price is so high in the first place.

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  • Steve A

    The only reasons why I can see they aren’t paying Rondo is because he does have a ton of talent around him. And, how good would he be if he was on a much less talented team? But he’s played real well regardless and is one of the better PGs in the league. Seems to hard to fathom that if he gets off to a good start this year that they won’t ante up for him. I think he’s shown enough to get it.

  • JH

    Rondo (& his triple double threat) remind me of Kidd…think he’ll ever reach that level?

  • George W Kush Sr

    He’s turning out to be a better player than I thought he would. Remember, they weren’t sure between Telfair and Rondo at some point. Good choice.

  • lakers4life

    i doubt they will give him alot of money…..becuz..he is playing w/ good talent..and that doesnt mean he would do good on a bad team….he is min worth mid-level to max 7- million.

  • JCARR

    @DIME
    Did anyone win those Converse autographed Elton Brand sneakers???

  • http://www.nukedasouth.net Chicagorilla

    If anderson Vajayjay can get $50 mill, then Rondo (who is 9 inches shorter) should get $60-70 mill. his effect on the game outwieghs every other celtic IMO.

  • http://www.kentuckysportsradio.com flipisatrip

    Rondo is for real. While having great talent certainly makes you look better, he can make just about anyone in the NBA look a lot better with the way he plays.

  • dagwaller

    Don’t know anything about these contract talks, but big ups to Austin for talking about a guy that played well for the 3 quarters before someone hit the game winning shot. Clutch is overrated.

  • randomized

    ANY pg in rondos spot would do good. 3 hofers and sheed there helps.

    you could put patches o’hoolihan from the movie dodgeball (wheelchair and all) and he could do as good as rondo.

  • karizmatic

    I’ve been skeptical of Rondo for a long time but I have to admit the dude is a baller it’s not just the star power on the Celtics that makes him good. He is probably quietly Boston’s second best defensive player…he makes their perimete defense really tough. He’s a good offensive rebounder and he gives them some good transition options. He’s also an underrated passer. All that said I don’t really like him, but I got to respect him.

  • sh!tfaced

    Here are the top 15 starting PG’s ranked by their approx salaries. PG’s like Derrick Rose won’t be in the list because they’re still on their rookie contracts.
    Where would you put Rondo?

    Arenas: $17.7M
    CP3: $15M
    Deron: $15M
    Billups: $13+M
    TP: $13+M

    Baron: $13M
    Nash: $11.7M
    Monta: $11M
    Mo Williams: $8.9M
    Devin: $8.9M

    Calderon: $8.9M
    TJ Ford: $8.5M
    Jameer: $8.1M
    JKidd: $8M
    Dre Miller: $7.3M

  • randomized

    i would put rondo at the last on that list. only guy not clearly better than him is tj ford. top 5 pg is over 13 mil. recession or not, he is a crackhead.

  • Bballfan

    put Rondo at about 10 Mil, although I think he is better than Monta.

  • dial up

    question is, can Rondo lead a team by himself?? hell nawh

  • king

    no pg in this league is Isaiah or AI in there primes (not even cp3) so dont expect any of them to “carry” a team, its not happening.

    Rondo is the best defender and rebounder at his position and is a top passer. Add in his ability to take smart shots and finish in the lane( he shot 50% last year) and he easily is an elite point in this league. stop the hate

  • Da_Griff

    He’s also got a big fat attitude. That’s going to keep his price DOWN.

  • http://dime fan

    No rondo no celtics. I was one of his biggest doubters. The kid does everything well except shoot. Aside from that he’s an all-star. He deserves credit and to be payed. I love his approach to the game.
    @11 put him immediately right behind nash on that list. If he played for the Knicks they might make the playoffs. He gets better every year and won the Derrick Rose battle quite nicely. He carried the Celtics w/o their premier player. To me he’s irreplacable for this team. Even if he’d play for the Hawks or Wizards they improve vastly. I’d even like him for the Cavs. He’s almost like a poor man Jason Kidd in stats not game. Very valuable and does little things you can’t teach. Doesn’t hurt you at all. If Tony parker is considered great. He has Ginobli,Duncan and Poppovich. The Big Three can’t get all the credit. It might not be w/o Rondooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. At this current time he’s a top 10 on some nights top 5 PG in this league. That says a lot. He’s the Ron Artest of guards w/o the human stuff. LOL- I’m from Queens & love Ron Ron. He only means well and isn’t as dumb & crazy as you think. Okay maybe the crazy part. Go Lakers & Celts your guys ratings to lose.

  • Mack Brownee

    rondo is the man and deserves to get paid in the top 10 range of pgs

  • 45%

    rondo >

    he needs a jump shoot or this discussion would be over.

  • Bing

    Surely he is as good as Mo Williams!