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BOSTON (CBS) – When Brad Stevens was named head coach of the Boston Celtics earlier this month, questions arose how the rookie NBA coach would get along with the sometimes-volatile Rajon Rondo.
Stevens quickly extinguished the flames of any issues he would have with Rondo, and has gone out of his way to praise the Boston point guard.
Enter Kris Humphries, who the Celtics received from the Brooklyn Nets in a package of players and draft picks for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White. He and Rondo now find themselves teammates, just a few months after an in-game shoving match saw both players get ejected, and Rondo suspended for a pair of games.
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But, like Stevens, Humphries doesn’t see any future issues with his new point guard — and looks forward to sharing the floor with him.
“I knew it was coming; it just took a few questions to get there,” Humphries smiled when reporters asked about last November’s altercation during his introductory press conference on Monday. “I haven’t talked to him but I think we’ll have a good relationship.”
The tussle, or “pushing war” as Rondo referred to it, occurred on November 28 at the Garden. Humphries took down Kevin Garnett with a hard foul under the Boston basket, and Rondo took exception. Rondo shoved the forward, and things spilled over into the stands. When the dust cleared, both Humphries and Rondo were ejected.
“I think things happen within the game. Looking at it, it really was nothing,” Humphries said. “The media tends to blow things out of proportion. Obviously I just have to do my part to earn his respect in terms of playing hard and contributing to the team and just go from there.”
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“You’ve seen so many more things in the NBA. We’re both competitors, and we competed hard against Boston last year and that’s what happens,” he said.
Humphries now joins a Boston team in a rebuilding process, but one that will not “tank” next season according to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. The power forward is excited to compete and contribute, and thinks a Rondo-Humphries connection will be a big part of Boston’s success.
“He’s a great passer and I’m looking forward to him coming back and running on the break with him,” Humphries said of Rondo. “He’s a great player; he’ll go down as one of the best point guards ever.”