Appreciate Rondo's contract

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Appreciate Rondo's contract

While tomorrow is the deadline for baseball teams to make a qualifying offer to free agents, last night marked a special deadline of the NBA variety: It was the last chance for teams to reach an extension with members of the 2009 draft class.

Any player left without an extension will become a restricted free agent next year, but that wont be an issue for many of the games young stars. Among those receiving extensions were James Harden, Taj Gibson, DeMar DeRozan, Steph Curry, Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday (sadly, Hasheem Thabeet never got the call). But its the last three guys who I want to focus on here.

Curry: Four years44M (11M annually)
Lawson: Four years48M (12M annually)
Holiday: Four years41M (10.5M, annually)

By comparison, Rajon Rondo is now in year three of a five year extension that was originally worth 55M. Hell make 11M this year, 12M next year and 13M in 2014-15.

You know, weve talked a lot over years about the remarkable job Danny Ainge has done in keeping the Celtics competitive. Originally, we all figured that Boston had a three-year window, and then it was back to the drawing board. Were now in year six, and theres no reason to think it will end here. But even with all the credit weve given Ainge, we probably dont give him enough for locking Rondo up for as many years and for as relatively cheap as he did. In fact, Rondos deal is probably the single biggest factor in the Celtics prolonged success. I mean, look around at the other top point guards in the league. Chris Paul is making nearly 18M this year, and will get the max after this season. Deron Williams got the max this summer, and will make 55.3M over the next three years compared to Rondos 35M. Russell Westbrook is one year away from getting a max deal of his own. At the same time, I dont want it to sound like Im disrespecting the three guys who just got their extensions. If Curry can stay healthy (although sadly, thats a huge if), hell be great. Ty Lawson is one of the leagues most underrated point guards and the general of one of the leagues most exciting and underrated teams. Jrue Holiday is still only 22 years old, only getting better and has a nice foundation to work with in Philly. But at this point, Rondos much closer to Paul, Williams and Westbrook than he is to those guys, yet for the next three seasons the money will say otherwise.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”