WALTHAM, Mass. — Rajon Rondo lowered his face, so the TV cameras wouldn’t catch him laughing. The trademark expression on Rondo’s face is a scowl, so he has an image to uphold.
Even Rondo couldn’t help but crack up, though, when he was asked about a report that he plans to test free agency more than a year from now. The sweat hadn’t even had time to completely dry from his skin after a spirited Boston Celtics practice on Friday, and the All-Star point guard was unprepared to address his impending unrestricted free agency — effective July 1, 2015.
“Already?” Rondo said, incredulously. “That’s crazy, what y’all come up with.”
While free agency wasn’t on his mind and he said he had yet to give it any thought, Rondo was good-natured about the topic. He admitted that he might be interested in being a free agent, just to see how in demand he is around the NBA, but that he hasn’t given it much thought. He didn’t seem to have any idea where an ESPN report came from that claimed he would jump into the market next summer.
“It’s kind of like, I would say, college recruitment, but I’m pretty sure a lot more goes into it in the NBA,” he said. “A lot more money is spent. I’ve heard stories of guys getting called right at midnight. It’s something I haven’t experienced and may want to go through, but I haven’t thought about it at all.”
Rondo, 27, has another season remaining on the five-year, $55 million extension he signed prior to the 2009-10 season. He is making $11.9 million this season and will make $12.9 million next season, relatively low amounts for a point guard of his caliber. He has been the subject of rampant trade rumors for years, although the Celtics’ struggles this season have ramped up trade speculation.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge continues to insist Rondo is not on the trade block, although he has received calls. Even if Rondo is dealt or leaves via free agency, Ainge probably will not be cracking any smiles. Losing a player of Rondo’s ability is no laughing matter.