Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reaffirmed Thursday that the team plans to build around point guard Rajon Rondo and lamented the recent batch of rumors surrounding his team.
Making his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub, Ainge sounded off on the NBA rumor mill.
"There is so much garbage," said Ainge after being asked about rumor published in Bleacher Report that suggested the Celtics and Knicks had talked about a swap that would bring Amare Stoudemire to Boston in exchange for Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. The report said the Celtics plan on "'stinking in 2014-15 anyway,' according to the source close to the team," and that would encourage Boston to take on the two years of hefty salary remaining on Stoudemire's deal. Ainge took umbrage with the source.
"Obviously, someone close to the Celtics would never say that," he said. "Those kind of rumors can be damaging and they start a lot of talk that is unnecessary and wastes a lot of people’s time. That’s not anywhere in the plans."
Earlier this week, ESPNNewYork.com reported that the Knicks were shopping Iman Shumpert to the Celtics as part of a package that would bring Rondo to New York. The Celtics did not show interest in the deal.
"Rondo is part of our future, we’ve been saying that since the time we made the big trade [with Brooklyn this summer],” Ainge said. “Players of his nature are very hard to acquire. When you see trade rumors out there for quarters on the dollar, you know that’s just a rumor, you don’t believe in that philosophy."
Asked if he's received any calls regarding Rondo's availability this season, Ainge added, "I’ve gotten one call for Rondo and it was a very short conversation. 'Not interested, he’s our guy.' That’s it."
Ainge later offered his weekly update on Rondo's rehab from ACL surgery.
"Rondo’s doing well," said Ainge. "I still don’t have a time[table for] when he’s coming back, but he’s making progress. [The team is] back in town today, he’s been working hard on the road, playing 1-on-1 and mixing it up, light things -- I don’t think he’s gone full speed yet for very long. That’s the next stage, it's 5-on-5, a whole practice, and then it’ll probably be a week, two weeks after he starts that."
But Ainge quickly referenced Derrick Rose and how the team wants to make sure Rondo is comfortable and ready before putting him back on the court. Ainge said he believes Rondo will travel to Florida in the coming weeks to meet with operating surgeon Dr. James Andrews to get a feel for where he is at, physically, in his rehab. Ainge has stressed that Rondo's return is not imminent.