Boston fans can breathe easy. Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, said Thursday that he will not trade away the team's All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. He also frankly had no idea where the idea of acquiring New Orleans star Chris Paul came from.
Ainge was asked point blank if he was going to trade Rondo.
I'm not, no, Ainge said in a press conference with Celtics coach Doc Rivers. I'll talk to Rondo, but I won't tell you what I'll say to him. Rondo will be fine, Rondo knows that we love him. He's excited to come back and play basketball, in my opinion. He gets a lot of attention. He's a great player.
Earlier this week, reports emerged of the Celtics eyeing a point guard swap with New Orleans in order to attain four-time All-Star Chris Paul. Other reports indicated the Celtics were shopping their point guard around to other teams, including the Indiana Pacers, to facilitate a trade that would give the Celtics a better scoring option at the point guard position.
There's a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo, Ainge said. So, how these rumors get out, it's unfortunate, but we didn't leak those rumors out. We'll deal with it. He'll be fine.
In order to be traded to Boston, Paul would have needed to sign a long-term extension; Paul reportedly said Wednesday he would sign no such extension, so the deal went kaput.
My heart is in New Orleans, Paul said at a charity event in New York City.
Since the NBA lockout was still technically in effect, Ainge said he had no way of communicating with Rondo to set him straight about the trade rumors.
Usually, I'm around [the players] when these [trade rumors] happen, Ainge said. This is a unique situation in that it's happened now. I will talk to the players and share with them the truth about rumors and everything else. I don't like to discuss them with the media - the truth or validity of rumors. But I do discuss them with players.
Ainge then tried to spin the rumors of trading Rondo as a compliment.
Trade rumors are part of the world we live in, Ainge said. It's a media circus out there and everybody's name has been in trade rumors. And everybody's name will be. If you're worth your salt, you'll be mentioned in a trade somewhere along the line. That's just a part of the business that players have to learn to deal with as well.
The veterans, obviously, are used to it, added Rivers. The younger guys will get used to it. Danny's right - if you're a good player, it's very likely at some point that you're going to be mentioned in a rumor. That doesn't mean any of them are true.
Rivers continued to sing Rondo's praises.
I'm not going to compare him to the other guys, but I think he's one of the top point guards in the NBA, he said. I think Rondo has established that. There's a reason that, whenever this thing leaked out, that it was all over the news. The players they are talking about are both really good. That's why. Rondo has established that through his play.
Listen, he's a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team. He should be flattered in a lot of ways that this is news.
Last season, Rondo averaged 10.6 points per game and 11.2 assists per game. On Oct. 29, Rondo tied Isaiah Thomas' 1985 record for most assists (24) in a triple-double. Rondo also broke John Stockton's and Magic Johnson's joint record of most assists through five games with 82 assists. This record also broke Bob Cousy's Celtics record of 67 assists through any five-game span.