Last week, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said he hoped Rajon Rondo would be the "franchise point guard for a decade."
Head coach Doc Rivers wants more.
The sixth-year Celtics coach was a guest on WEEI on Tuesday morning, and he expressed how important Rondo is to the team.
"I think Rajon Rondo will be a lifetime Celtic," Rivers said. "I really do. I think this process he’s gone through is the process all players go through at times. The maturity process is another thing that all players go through. I don’t think he’s behind in that department at all. I just think he’s young and he’s growing.
"In camp thus far he’s doing everything we ask him to do — and he usually does," Rivers added. "I would be very surprised if he’s not a lifetime Celtic."
Despite the confidence that Rivers has, the chance of Rondo signing elsewhere is a very real possibility. The 23-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent at season's end if the team doesn't sign him to an extension.
Ainge seemed to not be in a rush to ink Rondo this fall.
“These things are just about dollar amounts and have no bearing on our feeling about him or our intentions," Ainge said last week. "We may do something in October, and we may do something next summer when we’ll have the ability to match. We’ll play it by ear. … I think it’s clear to everyone that he’s one player who can help us make a transition from where we are now and in the next couple of years to playing for the future.”
Though Rondo shot better than 50 percent from the field last season and has bettered his shooting mark in each of his three years in the league, many still have concerns that he won't develop an outside shot.
Rivers isn't one of them.
"I don’t know that he will ever be a great 3-point shooter, but he’ll absolutely improve," the coach said. "When you look at his shot this year, he’s made some dramatic changes to it. It looks good, it’s going to go in, and it’s going to keep getting better. The thing I love about Rondo is, he’s going to put in the time. That kid works on his game. … I don’t think anyone can go from an average to a great shooter, but they can become a pretty good shooter. And that’s all Rondo needs."
The next 10 months will determine whether that development happens in a green jersey for a season or for a lifetime.