When Danny Ainge sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a blockbuster trade consummated in July, many of his fellow executives around the NBA assumed it was open season on the Celtics roster. Multiple reports had the Celtics fielding calls from around the league about Rajon Rondo, the most enticing trade chip remaining under Boston’s control.
Just how serious those talks became is uncertain. Ainge has insisted he is not shopping Rondo, but the Celtics’ president of basketball operations had said enough things, only to do entirely the opposite, over the years for anyone to put too much stock in that. In one popular rumor, the Pistons were in play for Rondo to join his former high school teammate Josh Smith. Other outlets reported the Mavericks were interested before they secured Devin Harris, Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis.
Sean Deveney of The Sporting News disputes the premise of all those rumors.
“Boston never seriously entertained dealing their flighty point guard,” Deveney writes. “Rumored talks with Detroit were ‘overblown,’ a source said, and Rondo does not want out of Boston.
“Rondo is coming off ACL surgery, which bumps down his value, and the Celtics were not planning on selling low regardless. The plan still is to hand the keys to Rondo and see how he works with new coach Brad Stevens. … That’s not to say Boston isn’t looking into deals — the Celtics would love to move Gerald Wallace or Kris Humphries, who were acquired in the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade, or Brandon Bass.”
Rondo may be staying put for now, though that does not mean his place in Boston is permanent. He will have the keys, but it remains to be seen how he feels about the car now that Pierce and Garnett are not around to provide the horsepower.