Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has turned out to be a better player than most fans expected. He came into the league seemingly a backup-level talent, yet developed enough to be worthy of starting on a team that wound up winning the championship. The Boston Globe (Marc J. Spears) reports:

Rajon Rondo is hopeful he can be a Celtic long after the Big Three are gone. General manager Danny Ainge said yesterday that the $2.09 million team option on Rondo for the 2009-10 season will be exercised before this season… Rondo will be eligible for a lucrative long-term deal next summer that would begin with the 2010-11 season. Signing him next summer as opposed to when he is a restricted free agent during the hot 2010 market will have salary cap implications for Boston. Duffy plans to push hard for a long-term deal; Danny Ainge does not comment on free agent issues.

It isn’t likely that Rondo will ever develop into a superstar — though, he’s proved doubters wrong in the past — but at the very least he should be a very solid starter for years to come.