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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Josh Smith is used to these sorts of rumors. After years of being the center of trade rumors and the endless speculation that goes along with them, he can school his good friend and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo in the art of navigating the drama.
Just because he’s familiar with the dance, however, doesn’t make it any fun for the Hawks’ veteran and captain. In fact, Smith said he’d rather Rondo be doing anything but reading about the possibilities the Celtics are exploring to trade him as players around the league are returning to team facilities to get ready for the start of training camp.
And for the record, Celtics GM Danny Ainge dismissed the Rondo trade rumors earlier today and even went so far as to profess his “love” for the franchise’s star point guard.
But that won’t make the whispers go away, Smith said. He knows because he’s endured them for the years, with rumors persisting to this day that he’s headed somewhere other than the franchise he’s played for in and every one of his seven seasons in the league.
“Rajon didn’t talk much about it but let me do it for him,” Smith said. “It’s mind-boggling to me to see people talking about getting rid of a player who damn-near broke his arm during the playoffs last year for his team and kept playing. We’re talking about arguably the best player in the playoffs for his team energy-wise, defensively and offensively. It’s a sick joke. For anyone to talk about getting rid of him, one of the elite point guards in this league and a true point who passes first and shoots second … it just reminds me of what I already knew, that the NBA is strictly a business. They can try to make it as family oriented as they want to, but at the end of the day it’s a business. And the fact is there is no loyalty in the NBA or any other profession. It’s always business.”
Smith said he is like most of his peers, extra sensitive to that fact with a condensed free agency period and the rushed start to this abbreviated season causing a spike in trade chatter. It’s not just his name or Rondo’s being tossed around. It’s Dwight Howard and Deron Williams and just about any other name you can think of these days.
“Nothing surprises me, though,” Smith said. “After seeing what happened to the NFL players when they came out of their lockout and they had something like 600 transactions in a week and you saw good players, quality players, getting shuffled around the league because of the way the process was structured. Nothing would surprise me.”