Rajon Rondo says he deserves a max contract

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Rajon Rondo has made four All-Star teams. He’s an NBA champion. He has twice led the NBA in assists per game and once in steals per game.

And he’s just 28.

I don’t think all his good years are behind him. Entering free agency after this season, neither does he.

Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:

Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News:

Based on the projected salary cap of $66.3 million, Rondo’s max contract would start at $18,602,898. He could make up to $106,966,663 over five years by re-signing with the Celtics or up to $79,434,374 over four years elsewhere.

Is he worth it?

Definitely the smaller max and probably the larger Boston max – if healthy.

In the last four years, he’s missed 14, 13, 44 and 52 games.

A broken hand has again sidelined Rondo, but he could return sooner than expected. No matter when he gets back on the court, staying healthy from then on will net him a large contract offer as unrestricted free agent this summer.

One factor working against Rondo is the prevalence of quality point guards in the league, but nobody has a point guard quite like Rondo. And multiple teams projected to have cap space in 2015 need point guards or could at least use an upgrade at the position. The Knicks (who’ve previously been linked to Rondo), Lakers, Hawks, Mavericks and Pistons could all make major plays for Rondo.

There are concerns about paying Rondo so much through age 32 – or 33 for the Celtics – but a drastically rising salary cap with new national TV contracts will ease that burden. Essentially, Rondo is entering the market with two limitations – in the last year before he’s eligible for the larger max for players with 10 or more years of experience, in the last year before the cap is pegged to skyrocket – that make him more appealing to potential suitors.

Rondo has been playing on a Celtics-friendly (at least before injuries set in) five-year, $55 million contract. His current deal is theoretically independent of his next deal, but it could affect his thinking next summer.

Few players who can get a max contract pass on it. Even fewer do so when it would be their first max contract.

Danny Ainge is obviously aware of these factors – most notably Rondo’s self-assessment as a max player.

The Celtics say they want to keep Rondo, but the constant trade rumors exist for a reason. It doesn’t make sense for a rebuilding Boston to waste the early years of a Rondo max contract while the team is too young to contend and then overpay on the later years. It doesn’t make sense for a veteran Rondo to toil for a losing team if he can get max offers elsewhere.

That’s why I think a trade is more likely than not before the deadline.

Rondo sees himself as a max player. I think enough of the NBA does, too.

If the Celtics don’t, they have to trade him. If they do, they’ll likely face significant competition this summer.

Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram all ejected for punches-thrown fight

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LOS ANGELES — It’s the second game of the season and players reaction like it was May. Or June.

Emotions were running high between the Lakers and Rockets all night. Los Angeles’ Brandon Ingram was particularly frustrated with James Harden drawing foul calls (welcome to a big club, Brandon) and after Harden drew another with 4:13 left in the game Ingram let his frustration go and pushed Harden. That was a quick technical, there was jawing, and Lance Stephenson stepped in to pull Ingram out and protect him from himself (yes, Stephenson was the level head… it was weird to type that).

Usually in an NBA “fight” that’s when things calm down.

Instead, that’s when things went crazy.

Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo, two guys who don’t like each other much, were jawing after the play when CP3 took his finger and pushed Rondo in the face — and Rondo responded by throwing a punch. Paul said later Rondo spit on him (you can’t see that in the initial video).

At that point, everyone was in.

That’s when Ingram came sprinting back into the scene and threw another punch. He was quickly pulled out of the pile, but the damage was done.

Once everything settled down, the ejections came — Ingram, Rondo, and Paul were all gone. Each of them can also expect a suspension to come down, Rondo and Ingram will certainly get multiple games for throwing punches.

The Rockets went on to win the game, 124-115.

C.J. McCollum breaks Bryn Forbes ankles, drains three, Blazers bench LOVES it

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Bryn Forbes was going to be the third-string point guard for the Spurs, but injuries to Dejounte Murray and Derrick White thrust him into the starting lineup.

Saturday night, C.J. McCollum schooled him. Broke Forbes ankles then drained the three over the top of him.

But the best part of this is the bench reaction.

Damn, that’s cold.

McCollum had 24 and Damian Lillard had 29, and the Blazers beat the Spurs 121-108.

Watch J.J. Redick’s game-winning three, it lifts 76ers past Magic 116-115

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — JJ Redick hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to lift the Philadelphia 76ers over the Orlando Magic 116-115 on Saturday night. You can see the video above.

Redick had his best game since moving to Philadelphia’s bench at the start of the season, scoring 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting, including eight 3-pointers.

Aaron Gordon had a chance to tie it with 10 seconds remaining but missed his second free throw, and a desperation heave by Terrance Ross missed the net entirely.

Joel Embiid had 32 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, including 19 points by halftime. He did it with an outside game in the first half but was more of a force down low after intermission.

Dario Saric scored 13 points and Robert Covington had 12 as the 76ers improved to 2-1 this season.

Evan Fournier had 31 points to lead Orlando. Nikola Vucevic added 27 points and Gordon had 20.

Ben Simmons left the game after the first quarter with a tight back, meaning Philadelphia had to lean that much more on Embiid and Redick.

With Simmons out, Markelle Fultz was given an opportunity to play extended minutes and run the offense. Fultz finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added seven assists with only one turnover.

However, with the game on the line, 76ers coach Brett Brown opted to use T.J. McConnell at the point and kept Fultz on the bench.

High scores have been common in the early part of the NBA season as teams are pushing the pace and trying more shots, especially from deep.

Both teams shot lights out from 3-point territory. The Sixers, paced by Redick, shot 17 of 34 (50 percent) while the Magic, led by Fournier’s six 3-pointers, shot 16 of 29 (55.2 percent).

Thirteen players attempted shots from beyond the arc, eight for Orlando and five for Philadelphia.

 

Young guys out: Sixers’ Ben Simmons, Knicks’ Kevin Knox leave games with (hopefully) minor injuries

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When the team’s young star goes down, or heads back to the locker room mid-game with a hitch in his step, an entire fan base holds their breath.

That happened tonight in Philadelphia with Ben Simmons and New York with Kevin Knox, but fortunately neither seems to be serious.

Simmons had hit a couple of layups but ran back up the court gingerly, like he was in pain, before asking out of the game at the 4:19 mark of the first quarter. He is not returning.

Simmons has been tearing it up for Philadelphia, averaging 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game through the Sixers first two. Philadelphia is off until Tuesday when they start a back-to-back in Detroit then head to Milwaukee.

New York’s Knox went down after Boston’s Terry Rozier tried to cut Knox off in transition and fouled him.

The Knicks announced it was a sprained ankle.

Knox drags that ankle behind him in an awkward way after the collision, let’s hope it’s nothing more than a mild sprain.

Both a tight back and a sprained ankle are things that can be worse the next day, keep your eyes out for updates on these guys.