Danny Ainge Refuting Reports That Rajon Rondo Is 'More Available Than Ever'

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo wears headphones as he drives to the basket during a practice before an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, in Boston, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and general manager Danny Ainge both said Rondo would return for the game
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Rajon Rondo trade rumors have become more commonplace than wins for the Boston Celtics, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge isn't happy about it.

He spent Thursday clearing the air, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett:

But what we’ve been hearing for a while and in more concerted tones here is that Rajon Rondo may be more available now than ever before. Danny Ainge yesterday dismissed a report that the Knicks had turned down a deal for the All-Star point guard as "maybe the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard."

Per Bulpett, Ainge further explained that claims of Rondo's availability were based on conjecture rather than any concrete negotiations: "That’s all speculation. Those aren’t facts. People don’t know that, so it’s just people speculating on Rondo’s free agency next summer. That’s all that you’re hearing. You’re not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations haven’t even been discussed, so that’s just speculation."

PORTLAND, ME - JUNE 21:  Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, speaks at a press conference in Portland, Maine on June 21, 2012 announcing that the Celtics and Red Claws have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with
Rich Obrey/Getty Images

The report about the Knicks that really set Ainge off came from snippets of Stephen A. Smith's piece for ESPNNewYork.com on the New York Knicks' coaching search. In it, Smith wrote the following:

Melo knows the Knicks had a chance at LaMarcus Aldridge and blew it. He knows they snubbed a trade that would've brought Rajon Rondo to New York or Kyle Lowry in a separate deal.

All season, he sat around, played hard and averaged 27 points per game, while the Knicks stood idly by and did nothing -- primarily because Dolan wouldn't allow them to, telling the team in multiple meetings that the players weren't going anywhere.

Even without Ainge's clarification, the notion that New York could have acquired Rondo seems self-evidently improbable. It's all the more improbable that New York's side was the one that "snubbed" the deal.

It certainly remains theoretically possible that the Celtics opt to move Rondo. Much depends on whether the point guard himself is patient enough to wait out the organization's continued rebuilding efforts. If Rondo sours on the idea of spending another year or two shuffling pieces around, then Ainge may be forced to seriously entertain trade talks.

So far, though, there haven't been any complaints out of Rondo's camp. He could very well be intrigued by the possibility of a turnaround and optimistic about young players such as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. 

For their part, the Celtics will want to keep Rondo around unless an irresistible offer shows up. The 28-year-old still has plenty of basketball left in him and reasons to be a strong veteran presence on a team that will be increasingly characterized by youth. He's also one of the very best floor generals in the game, who is difficult to replace by any metric.

Until we hear something concrete, assume that Rondo will remain with the Celtics for the time being. Unless Ainge is posturing to increase his leverage in future talks, it sounds like the reports out there are premature at best.