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

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

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Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK - Russell Westbrook was voted NBA MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles last season.

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season, and he broke Robertson's single-season record set when he had 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

The point guard beat out Houston's James Harden and San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard to succeed Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards.

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Mike Giardi: People in Paul George's camp think Celtics are a great fit

Mike Giardi: People in Paul George's camp think Celtics are a great fit

Mike Giardi reports that there are some people in Paul George's camp that think the Boston Celtics would be a great fit, both short and long-term.

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