BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics plan to continue the summer cleaning of their roster and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he welcomes all calls on his team's talent, but stressed again Monday that Boston does not currently plan to move All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo as part of the rebuilding process.
After the Celtics agreed to a draft-night blockbuster that will send veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn later this month when the deal is able to be consummated, some wondered if Rondo -- the final member of the team's 2008 title squad -- might be the next one sent packing. Ainge echoed his draft-night sentiments that the Celtics view Rondo as a potential building block as they try to get back to contender status.
"The calls are coming in, the calls have not been going out," Ainge said Monday after the team introduced rookie draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson at a community event in Mattapan. "I think that the assumption is that, [given] what we are trying to accomplish, the reports are such that maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players. We have had calls. On Jeff [Green], on Courtney [Lee], on Brandon [Bass], on Rondo, on Jared [Sullinger] and our draft pick, Kelly -- there’s been calls for all those guys. And maybe the assumption is we are just changing everybody. But we’re not. We’re starting to get younger."
Ainge admitted that Boston's main objective this summer is to get its salary structure in order and the team will continue to explore the trade avenues while seeking to gain more cap flexibility in future seasons. That is likely to put players such as Bass and Lee in the spotlight because of the money committed to them over multiple seasons (and the same with Gerald Wallace upon his arrival in the Nets deal).
But the Celtics are not seeking additional help at the moment through free agency, which Ainge said, "is not a priority for us." Just the opposite, with the Celtics set to bring back a large collection of players from the Nets, Ainge admitted his team actually needs to shed bodies, which started Sunday when the team cut Terrence Williams and his nonguaranteed contract in what Ainge termed "a numbers game."
"As a matter of fact, we have too many players," Ainge said. "We have logjams at power forward and center and shooting guard. We have a lot of guys potentially, if things continue as they are. I think that our job is to try to clean that up through the summer."
Asked if all the incoming talent from Brooklyn might stick on the roster, Ainge noted, "Don’t know; I have no idea. We have a lot of things to do this summer to clean our roster up, but I don’t know who will be on that roster."
But Ainge stressed that the team's current plans include Rondo, despite the fact that his name bubbled up this weekend with the Dallas Mavericks potentially being interested in his services.
"Don’t believe everything you read, especially on Twitter," Ainge quipped.
Ainge said that both Rondo and the team remain hopeful that he'll be able to return from ACL surgery for the start of the season, but admitted that's not certain. Ainge said he was happy with Rondo's rehab and that the point guard still hopes to be ready to go on opening day.
So would Ainge prefer rival general managers stop calling about Rondo?
"I always listen to calls and listen to what ideas are, but we have no intentions of moving Rajon," he said.