Point guard Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics have come to terms with a five-year, $55 million dollar extension. What does this mean for the team's future?
In the summer of 2007, when they traded for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, we knew the window for the team to win a championship was relatively small. Allen had three years left on his contract, while Garnett would be under contract for five years.
Here we are in year three and after the trio of Allen, Garnett and Paul Pierce has delivered one NBA championship to Boston, the feeling is that this could be the last year the three future Hall-of-Famers are together.
One would figure that the Rondo's extension sends the message that the Celtics want to go younger after the season.
After this year, Allen's nearly $20 million contract comes off the books. The team has to think about re-signing the aging veteran, who most likely would not take a significant pay cut to remain with the team. Pierce will seemingly exercise his $21.5 million option and Garnett will still be under contract for two more years.
Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis are the only remaining players under contract for next year, though the team can exercise options on J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker.
If Pierce exercises his player option, the team is looking at a $65 million payroll for 2010-11. The team has a $84 million payroll this year. This would leave the team with about $20 million to work with in the offseason, which, as everyone knows, could be full of big names.
To replace Allen, the team could pursue young stars such as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade (if they opt out of their contracts), or Joe Johnson, who is an unrestricted free agent.
They would know they are coming into a situation where ownership has locked up its young stars and where there are still All-Star veterans on the roster. For a young player like James without a championship ring, this would be a tough option to turn down.
Statistically, there would be little dropoff from Allen or, in some cases, it would be an upgrade. The Celtics would then have a top-five point guard and a top-five shooting guard for the next few years to team with Pierce, Garnett, Perkins, Wallace and Davis.