Celtics notebook

Hope remains for Rondo deal

By Gary Washburn and Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / October 28, 2009

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CLEVELAND - Twenty-four hours and face-to-face talks have changed the complexion of the Rajon Rondo contract negotiations and there’s hope the point guard could sign a long-term extension before Saturday’s deadline.

One day after telling Yahoo! Sports that a potential deal was dead, Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, appeared optimistic about reaching a deal with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

“Danny and I touched base before I came to [Cleveland] and Danny expressed a willingness to move a little bit,’’ Duffy said last night. “Obviously we’re going to entertain that. We’ve got four days here so we are going to see what transpires between now and then.’’

Four hours earlier, Ainge said he hadn’t been told that negotiations were dead.

“We talked today and planned on having some discussions tonight,’’ Ainge said before last night’s game. “I don’t anticipate anything leading to anything tonight but we’ve been talking the last little while.’’

“[Monday] I thought we had our position and they had their position,’’ Duffy said. “But he reached out so obviously my obligation is to entertain that.’’

Duffy will fly back to California today and the sides will talk again this afternoon. If a deal isn’t reached by Saturday, Rondo will become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning he can receive offer sheets from other clubs but the Celtics will have the right to match.

Rondo appeared unfazed by the discussions.

“I am not even thinking about it, I am worried about Cleveland,’’ he said before the game. “I got a season to play.’’

Said Duffy: “He’s pretty fearless. He knows what his job is, so one way or another, he instructed me that he’s fine either way.’’

Rondo, in his fourth season, finished with 8 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in the Celtics’ 95-89 win over the Cavaliers. He committed just two turnovers in more than 34 minutes.

“It’s just one game,’’ Rondo said. “We expect to win, that’s the bottom line - nothing else to it.’’

Pining for spark
Celtic newcomers Marquis Daniels, Rasheed Wallace, and Shelden Williams keyed the second unit’s success.

“I think we wanted it a little more,’’ said Wallace, who had 12 points in 24 minutes. “We didn’t panic. On our bench, we didn’t panic. We knew we were capable of closing their lead and even taking the lead, and that’s what we did.’’

Daniels finished with 7 points and two assists in 18 minutes and Williams provided 4 points and three rebounds in a dozen minutes.

Williams was thrust into a more prominent role at power forward with Glen Davis (broken thumb) and Brian Scalabrine (sprained ankle) unavailable. Williams said it was the first time he had played in a nationally televised game since he was at Duke.

“I still have to do the same job, whether [Davis] was able to play or not,’’ he said before the game. “It’s great, it’s exciting. I feel like I’m back at Duke.’’

Powe checks in
Leon Powe, a Celtic last season, now with the Cavaliers, was asked if he could have envisioned a scenario in which neither he nor Davis would be playing for Boston to start this season.

“I couldn’t imagine that, tell you the truth,’’ he said. “I thought they were going to have me back for the little money it was costing, and for me to get back in shape [from knee surgery].

“It happened, and now I’m here and it’s a good situation for me, and I guess both sides got what they wanted.’’

Regarding the situation of Davis, who broke his thumb in a fight with a childhood friend early Monday, Powe said, “It took me by surprise. I didn’t believe he allowed that to happen.

“It’s just a terrible situation.’’

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