HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — That was swift, the Celtics’ squashing of the rumors that they are aggressively seeking trade partners for All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
Both team boss Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers addressed the situation in their own ways Thursday, refusing to comment on specifics but sending a message (whether it was intended not) to Rondo and Celtics fans that whatever the franchise will look like going forward (sans the Big 3), it won’t necessarily have Rondo-free look (despite reports to the contrary):
Doc Rivers spent an hour and a half with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge before Wednesday’s win over Milwaukee, but the Boston Celtics’ coach says they never discussed trading point guard Rajon Rondo.
“In all that time we did not talk once about any trades,” Rivers said. “There was not one single thing about Rajon Rondo that crossed my desk.”
Rivers said Thursday afternoon he is irked by reports the Celtics were aggressively shopping his mercurial point guard and frustrated that his relationship with Rondo is being cited as one of the reasons Boston is willing to part with him.
“My relationship with Rajon is as strong as it has ever been,” he said. “Our communication has never been better. I want him here. I can say with almost 100 percent certainty he will be here with us when the season ends. I’m tired of this stuff. It’s not fair.”
Ainge called Rondo the team’s “best player” and reaffirmed on Thursday during his weekly call to Boston sports radio WEEI that he’s not actively trying to trade the 26-year-old.
“He’s our best player, he’s the most important part of our future,” said Ainge. “There’s no way we’re actively trying to trade Rondo. That makes no sense, no logical sense.”
Ainge went on to note that another team could always bowl over the Celtics with an offer to obtain Rondo’s services and admitted he couldn’t turn down one that made the Celtics better, but concluded, “I’ve made zero calls to try to trade him, and I won’t.”
This sounds a lot like what both Ainge and Rivers said in December, when they had to calm the chatter down when rumors spread that the Celtics were trying to move Rondo for Chris Paul, before Paul went to the Los Angeles Clippers.
With the March 15 trade deadline fast approaching, they all have just a few days more of this craziness before it’s all over …