Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge show the love for Rajon Rondo
|12.01.11 at 1:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers know full well what to expect when they next see Rajon Rondo – assuming that’s in a Celtics uniform on Dec. 9, the first day of training camp.
They admitted on Thursday in an 18-minute briefing with reporters at the team’s practice facility that trade rumors involving their point guard are part of the uncontrollable business of the new-world NBA where there’s labor peace but no ratified deal in place yet to allow general managers and coaches to have direct contact with players.
“I’ll talk to Rondo,” Ainge said. “Rondo will be fine. Rondo knows that we love him. He’s excited to come back and play basketball. He gets a lot of attention. He’s a great player. There’s a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. How these rumors get out is unfortunate but we didn’t leak those rumors out and we’ll deal with it. He’ll be fine.”
“There’s a reason when whatever this thing leaked out, it was all over the news,” Rivers added. “It’s because the players they were talking about are both really good. Rondo has established that with his play. He is a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team. He should be flattered, in a way, that this is news.”
As big a deal as trading Rondo would be, Ainge has an even bigger issue at hand – filling out the roster before training camp and the season opener on Christmas.
“We have about eight players to sign, that’s not including our draft players, which we’re in the process of getting signed,” Ainge said.
Ainge was asked if he anticipates having his core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo all back for the season, a core Ainge said Thursday he believes can still compete for an NBA title. Ainge indicated his needs are filing out the roster, specifically the bench.
“We have a lot of needs, our whole bench,” Ainge said. “We have six players under contract right now. We have point guard position, wing positions and big guys to fill. We need size.”
“At the end of the day, this whole thing is just starting,” coach Doc Rivers added. “We have to be patient. I have to be patient, obviously. The whole process has to work its way out. I’m just thrilled to be able to do my job again.”
There were no players spotted at the Celtics facility on Thursday, the first day players were allowed to use NBA facilities following an agreement on the new CBA. Teams can begin formal practices on Dec. 9, the start of training camp.
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