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What Ainge Said

06.23.09 at 2:50 pm ET
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WALTHAM – From the future of his starting point guard to the depth of Thursday night’s NBA Draft to his hopes for another title run in 2010, Celtics GM Danny Ainge hit on a number of topics on Tuesday in a pre-draft briefing with reporters at the team’s training facility at the Sports Authority complex in Waltham.

Here are the highlights: (click on the green for the audio)

First on the future of Rajon Rondo: “He showed up late for a playoff game so we’re going to trade him. None of those things is true. We love the kid and we think he’s got a very bright future. I don’t anticipate any trades happening this offseason involving any of our core players.”

“The notion that we might be trading him for some reason other than we think that we could be better or trading any player because of some reason (like) his contract,” Ainge said. “I’ve heard speculation of we’re dissatisfied with him or his attitude. That stuff is so false.”

This is still a championship caliber team: “We’ve won 128 games in the last two years. We won 66 games the year before and the championship and then this year we won 62 and had major injuries. So, I think we’re crazy (n0t to think we can’t win). We’re a championship contender for sure the last two years and we feel like we’ll be better this year. We’ll have a better team on the court.

On Kevin Garnett, who is currently in California and how his progress is going following surgery to remove bone spurs:

“KG’s coming along great, very well. He should be 100 percent by the time we start training camp.”

On how hard it was watching the rest of the playoffs: It was frustrating watching The Finals. But I watched it, I was entertained by it but it was frustrating watching the Eastern Conference Finals and The Finals because I thought we could have been there.”

Will the Celtics be players in the free agent market?:

“I anticipate we’ll be involved in the free agent market. Whether we get the guys we want, we’re not going to just go get anybody but there’s some players we’d like to make a run at anyway.

The Celtics have the chance to use their mid-level exception to make a run at a free agent like Ron Artest. Will they?

“I think the free agent, mid-level talent pool is fairly deep but based on our needs, it may not be that deep for us. We’re certainly not going  to spend the mid-level exception on a point guard. On a wing-player probably although that’s not impossible. Probably more likely a bigger player although there are some good wing players out there that are mid-level free agents that we’d be thrilled to get.”

What will the mid-level exception be?:

“I do know but I’m not going to tell you that.”

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