The Boston Celtics stunned the basketball world by signing former Butler head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens will preside over the team's rebuilding efforts, but one major area of concern was how notoriously difficult point guard Rajon Rondo would relate to his new rookie coach.
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, Rondo is willing to give it a shot with his new coach.
Source close to Rajon Rondo says #celtics PG is looking at Stevens hire with "completely open mind."— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) July 4, 2013
That has to be reassuring for the Celtics, who must have known when they overhauled the roster that Rondo would have some reservations about playing with a bunch of untested rookies and mediocre veterans.
Remember, even when the team had a handful of championship-tested stars to keep Rondo in line, the point guard still found ways to be ornery.
In July 2012, Doc Rivers told Mike Cole of NESN: "I don't care if [Rondo is] moody, or stubborn, but he's also a genius. You have to give him room, which I do."
Apparently, there wasn't always enough room between Rondo and Rivers.
According to Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops, the player and coach nearly came to blows during a team meeting. Incidents like that show why there was plenty of reason for Boston to be wary of Rondo's feelings toward Stevens.
In fact, the potential clash between Rondo and Stevens was among the first topics of conversation in the aftermath of the Celtics' big hire.
Some of the quips were made in jest.
But others were painfully blunt about Rondo's legendary reputation for being difficult.
Congratulations, Brad Stevens. Now go get Rondo to listen to you.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) July 3, 2013
The Celtics are embarking on a new era, so perhaps Rondo's latest comments indicate that he's serious about doing the same. It's impressive that he's willing to approach this season with an open mind, especially considering the sudden change in the team's makeup and direction.
And for what it's worth, neither Rondo nor the Celtics are even talking about a trade, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
Keep seeing Rondo trade destination stories. Repeat:Celtics aren't trying to trade him.And he won't ask for a trade: http://t.co/WvQxc1yUmn— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) July 3, 2013
If Rondo and Stevens can get along, it'll bodes well for the Celtics' future. But if Rondo starts acting up, you can bet that the trade talk will suddenly get louder.