Danny Ainge: Celtics Offered Rajon Rondo Extension, Will Be Paid 'Star Money'

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

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The Boston Celtics are ensuring that Rajon Rondo's fate is known in the near future.

Even though the dynamic point guard has only been back from his torn ACL for a few games, the green-clad franchise has reportedly offered him an extension that will pay him "star money," per the Toucher and Rich Show's Twitter feed

What exactly does "star money" mean?

Your guess is as good as mine, but it feels safe to assume that it involves a max contract or something very close to one. After all, Rondo is one of the NBA's uber-elite point guards when healthy, even if he hasn't played like it since returning to the lineup. 

Before sitting out of the Jan. 22 overtime contest with the Washington Wizards for precautionary reasons, Rondo had suited up for three games and was averaging 5.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. 

The jump shooting certainly hasn't been there, but the aggression and instincts definitely have. His numbers will rise as he gains confidence, reacquaints himself with NBA basketball and increases his comfort level alongside his lackluster teammates. 

Even though the C's are jumping the gun and refusing to wait and see whether or not he regains his pre-injury level of performance—and he will, as Rondo is one of those players who can impact a game without moving—this is a solid decision by general manager Danny Ainge, simply because it jump-starts the rebuilding process. 

Jan 19, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If Rondo decides to sign his "star money" extension, Boston will know that it has the luxury of building around an All-Star floor general throughout the foreseeable future. If he decides to reject the deal, then the team can safely put him back on the trading block, where he seemed to be spending so much of his time this season. 

As B/R's Stephen Babb writes, though, "A lot could change between now and the trade deadline, but that change shouldn't and won't involve Rondo." 

Right now, it's hard to disagree with Babb's statement. The Celtics are playing surprisingly strong basketball, and the development of Jared Sullinger in particular has given them a little bit more hope for the inevitable rebuild. 

But if Rondo doesn't sign the extension, everything changes. Ainge is just figuring out whether he has to prepare for that a little bit sooner than expected.