-- The rumors spread like wildfire this past summer - the Celtics were looking to trade Rajon Rondo.
For about a month, it was in all of the newspapers, all over the sports radio talk shows, and talked about on television networks.
Even after Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge came out and said that the Celtics were not trying to trade their up-and-coming superstar, few people believed him.
After all, the 23-year-old Rondo was coming off the best season in his short career. He nearly averaged a triple-double in the playoffs, finishing with 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.8 assists in two playoff series.
He is in the final year of his contract, and by putting up those lofty numbers Rondo believes that he should be paid as one of the top five point guards in the league. The Celtics believe he is overestimating his worth.
Ainge told WEEI this summer that Rondo is one of the top 10 point guards in the league, not top five, and while the Celtics consider him valuable and a key part of their team, Rondo is not a max contract player.
The Celtics have him for a bargain price of $2.09 million this season, and if they do not extend his contract by Oct. 31, Rondo will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Rondo told the Boston Herald yesterday that contract talks have not started yet but he is optimistic that he will sign a new contract with the Celtics. He said that he has been working on his jump shot, ball-handling, and court awareness this summer.
"I'm definitely excited," Rondo told the Herald. "I'll probably be more vocal each year . . . I'm more confident. Obviously I stepped up a little bit and I try to take advantage of when an opportunity presents itself."