Rondo reportedly wants $100 million extension -- is he worth it?

The Celtics may have introduced a new point guard today, but it's their current point guard making some headlines.

According to Celtics' radio broadcaster Cedric Maxwell, Rajon Rondo wants an extension. A really, really big extension. Here's WEEIs Ben Rohrbach with the transcription:

“I think it basically gives you an indicator of what the Celtics want to do,” Maxwell told Yahoo Sports Radio. “Rumor has it that Rondo has asked for a $100 million extension. You’ve got Smart, the young kid, and you’ve got Young, the other kid from Kentucky — both guards. And in the NBA system right now, the way they’re being paid, you would pay both those guys probably about $4 million for one year instead of the $100 million right now that Rondo wanted to ask for.

“So, if you’re Rondo, you might want to start calling that moving company and say, ‘Eh, come get my stuff. I don’t think I’m going to be here too long.’”

A few points:

1. This might not have a hint of truth to it

2. Even Maxwell called this a rumor, and he's the one with the "source"

3. As Rohrbach points out in his article, Rondo cannot currently sign that large an extension. The Celtics could offer him only a 3-year, $45 million extension this summer, but next summer Rondo is eligible for a 5-year, $105 million deal once he hits free agency. So this request, if true, is just Rondo letting the front office know what he wants next year.

But for the sake of the article, let's pretend that it is true. Is $105 million too much to pay for Rondo's age 29-34 seasons?

My answer: Most likely yes.

Rondo is a great player, but the only way the Celtics should be spending that kind of money is if they're attempting to make a run in the next 2-3 years. The last thing you want is a player in their early-30s making $20-23 million to play for a team that is going through the rebuilding process. $21 million (Rondo's average annual value in this hypothetical deal) is just about exactly 1/3rd of the cap. If the Cs are about to undergo a 3-5 year rebuild, why on Earth would you pay a point guard entering his 30s (Rondo will turn 30 about 7 months into his five-year deal) 30-35% of your available cap space? Especially when you just drafted a point guard who absolutely has All-Star potential for a fraction of the price.

Financial details: Smart will likely make about $15 million the next four seasons before hitting restricted free agency, and even if he becomes a great player he's likely to get something like 5 years, $75 million in his next contract. So you could either have Rondo for the next six seasons at $117 million ($105 million extension + $12 million this year) or Smart for nine years, $90 million ($90 million being the absolute max). Oh, and Smart's nine years you have him under control would be from age 21-29, while Rondo's six years are from age 29-34.

Does this mean Rondo is definitely heading out of town? Absolutely not. But if the Celtics go the youth route, I maintain that he will be dealt before the trade deadline, or simply will walk next summer. I do not see the Rondo-Smart backcourt being sustainable unless they're surrounded by three-point shooters at the 3 through 5, or one of them develops that range (show me one successful backcourt in recent NBA history where both guards shoot less than 30% from three. I'll wait.), and it doesn't make a ton of sense to keep the older more expensive guy around if you're going to surround him with 19-20 year olds.

Obviously there is still a chance that the Celtics decide to deal some assets for more established talent, and in that case, Rondo could stick around. Maybe it's Kevin Love. Maybe it's Greg Monroe. Or maybe it's someone we don't even know is available yet. Who the hell knows what could happen over the next year on the always changing NBA landscape.

I do hope that if the Celtics do decide to bring back Rondo, they can move that price tag down a bit though. Something like 5-years, $85 million sounds fair, slotting Rondo in a little below the max, and giving the Celtics some cap space to build a winner around him.

But for now, just take this for what it is: a report worth taking with a grain of salt, and a launching point of yet another Rondo related discussion.

Speaking of: Poll time!

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