BOSTON (CBS) – The Rajon Rondo rumor mill has been churning for years now. The Minnesota Timberwolves had their eyes on the young point guard dating all the way back to 2007, when Kevin McHale reportedly tried and failed to get Rondo included in the eventual Kevin Garnett trade package.
Over the last few years, Rondo has been involved in rumors involving such teams as the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks. None of these rumors materialized into anything (although some, such as the Chris Paul reports, were much more serious than others), as Rondo has remained a Celtic since the team acquired him on draft night in 2006.
This weekend, we got our latest batch of rumors, as a Jackie MacMullan report indicated that Rondo had told the Celtics “he wants out” of Boston. Predictably, Rondo’s camp spoke up to refute the report, but that won’t put an end to the speculation. Any time you have a star stuck on a rebuilding team, it’s not a surprise to hear he might not be a happy camper, especially after the Celtics struck out on making a big trade this summer.
Yet, is Rondo truly unhappy in Boston? And just what has he said on the idea of staying long-term in Boston and his impending free agency? In light of this latest wave of reports over the weekend, it would be wise to look back at some quotes from Rondo and Danny Ainge over the past calendar year to see where each side stood on the record.
January 2014 – Rondo is asked about the prospect of his impending free agency in the summer of 2015 at a practice:
Reporter: Is free agency something that intrigues you?
Rondo: “It is.”
Reporter: Something you’ve thought about?
Rondo: “I haven’t thought about it. I’ve just thought about getting my leg as strong as possible, continue to shake off the rust this year and come back even better next.”
Reporter: What about free agency intrigues you?
Rondo: “It’s kind of like, I would say, maybe college recruiting. I’m pretty sure a lot more goes into it in the NBA. A lot more money is spent. I’ve heard stories, guys getting called right at midnight. It’s something that I haven’t experienced. I may want to go through it. I haven’t thought about it at all.”
February 2014 – Ainge is interviewed on Felger and Mazz after the trade deadline and talks about the idea of moving Rondo and his trade market:
“There are a lot of people that have their franchise point guards. When they go draft and bring in their guy, they don’t want to pay a heavy price to get a player of Rajon’s caliber … they are just going to let their guy go [develop]. And now you have a lot of point guards in the league right now, there are 20 out of 30 teams probably or more that have franchise point guards they really like.”
June 2014 – Rondo is asked about his comfort level and future in Boston after watching a draft workout at the team’s practice facility in Waltham:
“I don’t like change, really. 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, and I’ve been training here, and the staff has been doing pretty good as far as my rehab. … This is home to me as of now.”
So what can we surmise about Rondo’s situation after reviewing what was said on the record over the past year? The truth is remaining in a holding pattern on Rondo’s future likely serves the best interest of both sides right now.
After reviewing his statements, it’s understandable that Rondo wants to keep his options open heading into next summer, but why would he want to burn any bridges in Boston by demanding out now, knowing full well the Celtics can offer him the most money in his next contract? Keeping the Boston option open long-term should only aid his next deal.
From Ainge’s viewpoint, the small number of teams needing point guards on the trade market certainly hasn’t changed much since February either. Rondo’s trade stock is also still relatively low coming off an ACL tear last year, so making a move with the superstar guard right now within a limited pool of interested teams isn’t in the team’s best interest for their rebuild.
Everything should come to a head during the upcoming season, one way or another. For the time being though, nothing has changed about Rondo’s situation in the past few months. The Celtics are rebuilding as expected, and both sides are playing a waiting game that should continue until at least the trade deadline and maybe into next summer.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.
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