WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo’s appearance on Monday at the team’s draft workout in Waltham came as a bit of a surprise for reporters. The point guard was on hand with Chris Babb, Kelly Olynyk and Phil Pressey as the Celtics front office evaluated a crew of primarily young point guards prior to the 2014 NBA Draft.
Rondo’s presence in itself wasn’t a surprise. He’s attended these workouts in past years as well. His willingness to talk with reporters at length was the bigger surprise. Boston’s guarded captain rarely speaks in the offseason, so a nearly 10-minute question and answer session is worth noting.
The encounter with Kevin Love and Rondo highlighted the Q-and-A , but beneath that discussion, the veteran guard had plenty to say about his own and the team’s future in Boston.
First and foremost, Rondo stated his preference yet again to remain in Boston for the long term.
“Yes. I don’t like change really,” Rondo explained. “I’m pretty comfortable. I have a beautiful home here. I love it here. I have a great neighbor, the best neighbor in the world. I don’t want to leave. It’s just part of the process that I’ll talk about once the season is over. As of now, I’m a Celtic. This is home to me, as of now.”
The point guard also gave a strong vote of confidence to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to improve this Celtics squad in the upcoming offseason.
“I trust a lot in Danny,” Rondo said. “He’s turned this thing around before. I have faith in him. I believe in Danny. I think we do need another big-time player. But that’s all his job. He’s working on that now and I completely have faith in him.”
Rondo added: “At the end of the day, I want to win. I want to win now. And I’m sure Danny will have the guys in here that we’ll be able to compete for a title. I don’t just want to make the playoffs or get to the first or second round. When I compete, or when I make it to the playoffs, I expect to win every time.”
Luckily, Ainge and Rondo appear to be on the same page when it comes to their aspirations for the Celtics. Ainge’s reputation speaks for itself. He broke up a playoff team when he first came to town as president back in 2004 by dealing away Antoine Walker since he knew that squad had probably already reached their ceiling. He’s always been about putting together a contender for the long term and Rondo respects him for that.
Rondo also probably knows in the back of his mind he’s not a sure thing to be a part of Boston’s long-term future. If the team doesn’t elected to take a big step forward with the rebuild this year, Ainge could elect to go even younger and trade away the point guard for another collection of future assets.
A move like that would probably be more likely to occur if Rondo was acting like a disgruntled star. Yesterday’s presser proved to be just the opposite though. He knows he’s had it pretty good in Boston. Two NBA Finals runs and just two “down” seasons in an eight-year career is a spot most players around the league would love to be in. Unlike Paul Pierce back in the mid-2000s, Rondo doesn’t have the right to be upset about the team taking a step back last year.
So as Ainge fully goes about his offseason maneuvering, he’s got the full support of his best player around him. That’s an important extra chip for Ainge to have in his pocket as he tries to sell elite players around the league on Boston as a destination to win.
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