WALTHAM, Mass. -- If Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was affected by the persistent trade rumors that swirled around him in recent weeks, he didn't show it Friday.
Under no obligation to chat with the media -- and having passed on such opportunities in the days leading up to the start of the team's training camp -- he welcomed the throng on cameras and microphones Friday, offering one of his most engaging, entertaining, and funny confabs with the media during his time in the league.
Rondo stressed that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was honest with him about rumors that suggested Boston's basketball boss was hot in pursuit of New Orleans star Chris Paul, but said he still feels wanted in Boston and is ready to aid the team's quest for a title this season.
"I talked to [Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers] about a week ago, they were straight up with me," said Rondo. "Teams are calling. I don’t think they were trying to intentionally shop me, but obviously, you have to entertain the calls. [Ainge] told me he wanted me here, and I’m still here, so far."
Later Rondo added: "You guys might have heard different rumors, and they might have been true, they might have been shopping me. But I felt comfortable and I've been here just working."
Asked if the rumors could fuel him this season, Rondo said his only motivation is to win a championship and that he's already "fueled" up. Pressed on the issue later, he mixed in some humor.
"I’m already pretty fueled up, man," he said. "Honestly. I’m running over, actually. I’m just anxious to play. It’s a short season, we’re going to take advantage of this opportunity with this great team we have. We have great chemistry and I’m just ready to go. I’m really excited about our team and the main goal for me and the team is to win a championship."
Rondo tried to dispel the notion that the trade of good friend Kendrick Perkins at the deadline last year contributed to his late-season slump.
"There's a lot of different rumors of what happened," he said. "No excuses, I didn't play as well at the end as I played at the beginning. It's a simple as that."
And could these preseason trade rumors send him into a similar funk this time around?
"I may be sensitive; I’m human," he said. "But I don’t think that hurt my game."
Rondo said the elbow he dislocated in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat is fine and raved about the Celtics' offseason additions, including Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling, who Rondo believes will help improve the bench.
"I like our team, I like the additions that we’ve made," he said. "The guys that we’ve lost, we’ll miss, but it’s a business. I could have been on of those guys and I still might be."
But he's confident he won't be. Asked later about who the best point guard in the league is, he offered some laughs, but you get the feeling he was being honest, too.
"Besides myself?" he answered the query. "I have to feel that way, honestly, to be in my position. I like to say I’m one of the best. There’s a lot of great guys that go out there and challenge every night. It’s not an easy position to play. I think it’s hardest position to play."
But he thinks he brings a lot to this team, even if he's not Chris Paul.
"If you want a scoring point guard -- right now I'm not the scoring point guard," he said. "But a guy that's going to run the show, get everyone involved and keep everyone happy. I think I like myself."
The Celtics like him, too. At least for now.