Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reiterated his stance that the C’s had no intention of trading point guard Rajon Rondo, which is easy to say now that the 2014 NBA trade deadline is in the rearview mirror.
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reported in January, “More than a few GMs around the league expect Rondo to be on the move.” The floor general was tied to rumors involving the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, but no speculated deals came to fruition. That led Ainge to say the following, per Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:
Ainge: "We were not trying to trade Rondo in any way, shape, or form. Most of the rumors out there were completely false."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 21, 2014
While that stance seems as concrete as possible, Grantland’s Zach Lowe had a rebuttal:
@BaxterHolmes Cs fans can believe that if it makes them feel better.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 21, 2014
Ainge didn’t trade Rondo prior to the deadline, but that may simply be tied to reports that Boston’s front office wanted a haul of two first-round picks in exchange for the Celtics captain. Per Sam Smith of Bulls.com, “The asking price if you can get Rondo is said to be two unprotected first rounders.”
Given the level of talent expected to join the NBA via the 2014 draft, I’d wager the Celtics would have considered a trade if a suitor offered that lofty price tag, but it’s highly doubtful that occurred.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears cited a source who said the Sacramento Kings discussed sending guards Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore with a first-round pick to Boston, "but Rondo wasn't interested in re-signing with Sacramento and the Kings strongly value McLemore."
That proposed deal also didn't hit the reported quota of two first-rounders (unless you count McLemore, who was the seventh overall pick in 2013).
“I don’t have a problem with somebody calling me even if I don’t think it’s a reasonable offer,” Ainge said, per Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. “That happens all the time, and I’m sure I’ve done that, too. I don’t have any issues with that.”
Although Ainge admits he has no problem with teams inquiring about certain players, he added that baseless rumors bother him.
But what I do have issues with is people that call with really no intention to make a deal and just an intention of being able to say they called. Then the next thing you know, as soon as they hang up the phone, there’s rumors that they’re trying to get Rondo. So it becomes a story that’s talked about for seven days, when in fact they never really did want Rondo and we definitely had no interest in getting rid of Rondo.
If we read between the lines in this instance, Ainge may have been firing shots at the Knicks and Rockets—who were both tied to rumors despite not having logical assets to send in return. At least NBA fans know that Ainge has perfected the art of talking the talk as a league executive.
This more than likely won’t be the last time we see Rondo’s name dangled in trade rumors, though, as Comcast SportsNet’s A. Sherrod Blakely alluded to via Twitter:
Rajon Rondo remains unlikely to be traded, will draw "significantly more" suitors this summer, league sources tell http://t.co/ZMKH64l2PK.— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) February 20, 2014
Rondo had this to say of the whole situation, per Holmes:
Rondo on being involved in trade rumors: "It gets annoying at times. It’s been like that the last eight years, though."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 21, 2014
The future is cloudy in Boston now that the era of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett has ended. Nevertheless, Boston has the ability to build around a floor general with a championship pedigree moving forward—if it elects not to trade him this summer.
Regardless of what the Celtics organization decides to do, we can be sure that Ainge will keep the NBA community on its collective toes.