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Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens deny Rajon Rondo trade rumors

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Brad Stevens said he's excited about Rajon Rondo having a great season in Boston.
Brad Stevens said he's excited about Rajon Rondo having a great season in Boston. (USATSI)

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Rajon Rondo's name will not leave the rumor mill. The Boston Celtics point guard will be a free agent after 2014-2015, and at that time he'll be 29 years old. The logic isn't hard to follow -- Boston is rebuilding, and it will be difficult to construct a championship-level core around Rondo to make the most of his prime. It might benefit both sides to find him a new home.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that the New York Knicks turned down a Rondo trade during the offseason, and there are rumblings now that he might be on the trading block, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett. Celtics president Danny Ainge strongly denied both, via the Herald:

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.”

“We love Rondo, and Rondo loves us,” Ainge said. “We don't feel like there's pressure that we have to do something or there's some sort of deadline that something has to get done by. You know, sure Rondo has to see progress and Rondo has to believe that we're going to be contenders and be in the picture and have something. But that's an ongoing thing. I mean, we feel that way with everybody.”

Ainge added that he thinks Rondo has grown as a leader and next year will be a career season. Boston head coach Brad Stevens spoke similarly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE:

"He's still around a lot, a the [team] facility," Stevens said. "We were out out it early. We didn't make the playoffs. So we have something to speculate about. But it's all speculation. Nothing has come across my plate. We're excited about having him. Excited about him really having a great year next year."

This is all stuff we've heard before. Repeatedly. Unless the Celtics get an incredible offer for Rondo, of course they're happy to have him. Of course they're excited about what he'll look like when he's fully healthy to start the season. The only thing that's questionable here is Ainge saying there's no additional pressure to quickly improve the roster. Every rebuilding team has a blueprint, and most of them don't involve a 28-year-old four-time All-Star. It's perfectly feasible for Boston to fast-track things and re-sign Rondo next summer with a new core around him, but Ainge will likely have to make multiple moves in between now and then.
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