Since the Boston Celtics shipped Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce out of town this summer, the franchise and Rajon Rondo have seen their futures as being intertwined, according to Sporting News' Sean Deveney. While trade rumors may swirl around the All-Star point guard, who returns from his ACL recover on Friday, sources to Deveney indicate the team and player want to play their futures out together.
The next critical point in rebuilding a contender is the summer of 2015.
In 2015, the Celtics and president Danny Ainge have just $19 million committed to the payroll at this point and Rondo also becomes a free agent. If healthy, Rondo could sign a max contract to remain in Boston, which would then ideally pair him with another big-name player. The 2015 free-agent class includes Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert, among others.
Boston sees the interim as an opportunity to build the foundation, and Rondo is apparently OK with that. Deveney's sources say Boston has been open about their plans with Rondo and that the point guard "relishes" the opportunity to be the clear leader of a rebuilding team.
Of course, all that planning depends on Rondo's return that begins against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. If he's healthy and gets back to All-Star form by next season, and if Boston does well developing its young players and drafting more, the stage is set for the 2015 offseason to be the big one for both the Celtics and their talented point guard.
Though Ainge has traditionally considered all options -- things could always change like they did this summer with the Doc Rivers situation -- the plan as of now is to play it out with Rondo leading the way.